Politico reported on GOP presidential nomination Senator Ted Cruz’s recent crop insurance flip-flop. Crop insurance — essentially Obamacare for corn — is heavily subsidized. It’s also important to farmers in the crucial campaign state of Iowa. Cruz, whose supporters characterize him as a “full spectrum constitutional conservative” had initially voted to cut $3 billion in subsidies that went to insurance companies, not farmers. He flipped his vote after a strong-arm from Senate Ag Chairman Pat Roberts.
The Manchester, New Hampshire Union Leader (another crucial presidential primary state) editorialized on Cruz’s capitulation to King Corn, saying:
If you grow it, they will grovel.
Something about the cornfields of Iowa makes otherwise sensible conservatives suddenly adopt liberal agriculture policies.
In fact, our preferred candidate for President, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, supports a crop insurance provision that was tacked onto the recently approved transportation reauthorization bill. At least he’s honest about it.
Sen. Ted Cruz flip-flopped on the issue live on the Senate floor.
As the Senate clerk was calling the roll on the crop insurance amendment, Cruz voted against it. But after Kansas’s Pat Roberts bent his ear, Cruz switched his vote, supporting an additional $3 billion in federal crop insurance subsidies.
Cruz, along with Sens. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, then proceeded to vote against the underlying bill with the crop insurance spending they supported.
Because, you know, they’re all such strong fiscal conservatives.
The crop insurance program is also rife with fraud yet there have never been congressional hearings on it. Yesterday news broke about a massive crop insurance fraud case in Kentucky involving millions in taxpayer dollars. One of the more startling revelations from the case:
Another producer had received $1 million in crop insurance indemnity payments since 1999, but had applied for food stamp assistance in 2008 “and is still receiving assistance.”
Turns out that in 2014 alone “that producer” got $459,000 in government subsidized crop insurance payments for 178 acres of a failed tobacco crop while receiving $1,100 a month in food stamps.
Remember when a Michigan girl won the lottery but was still on food stamps? What about Lobster Boy, the surfer that fed himself lobster on food stamps? In both those cases the GOP went nuclear and used the examples as excuses to attack a program that was a thankful last line of defense for families hit by the Great Recession.
This should be a travesty in the eyes of the GOP, but instead the priority for even a “full spectrum constitutional conservative” is to ensure insurance corporations continue to receive taxpayer funds.
So my question for Senator Ted Cruz is why did you vote to restore federal subsidies to a program that sends million dollar checks to food stamp recipients?