Ice Cream Dished in Farm Bill Defeat: When Losing is Like Winning

About an hour after the farm bill died in the House today, a summer ice cream party started in a park across the street from the Capitol. The bill may have died, but the party-goers got the amendment they wanted.

The International Dairy Foods Association, which worked to pass an amendment stripping a dairy supply-management provision from the bill, served ice cream sundaes and root beer floats made with Hershey’s ice cream and A&W, Mug and Stewart’s root beer to scores of congressional staffers and lobbyists.

“It’s a good day,” said Jerry Slominski, IDFA’s senior vice president for legislative and economic affairs.Slominski’s goal going into the day was a strong vote in favor of an amendment offered by Virginia Republican Bob Goodlatte and David Scott, a Georgia Democrat, and backed by House Speaker John Boehner. The vote was 291-135, a margin bigger than both proponents and opponents said they’d expected. Minutes later, the House rejected the farm bill by 234-195.

As the ice cream was dished up, Owl City’s song “Good Time” played over loudspeakers. “Woah-oh-ah-oh-oh, it’s always a good time.”

“We can live with current law,” Slominski said with a smile. “If you guys want to go ahead and reform farm policy, that’s fine, but just don’t make it bad.”

“Woah-oh-ah-oh-oh, it’s always a good time…”

House Agriculture Ranking Democrat Collin Peterson said he’d had Democrats come up to him on the floor after the Goodlatte-Scott amendment was adopted to say they were abandoning the bill, blaming it along with deeper cuts to food stamps than Democrats wanted for sinking the $939 billion bill.

“I looked at the votes. I can’t see that there are any votes at all that voted against the farm bill because of Goodlatte-Scott,” Slominski said. “and I would argue that there are many, many more that would vote against the farm bill if Goodlatte-Scott hadn’t passed because of the speaker.”

“We don’t even have to try, it’s always a good time,” the song played on.

Imagine if the bill had actually passed.


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