By Tracy Bloom
Farm Bill Take 2: House Republican leaders have decided to drop the food stamps and nutrition portions of the farm bill, and the agriculture-only measure could be put up for another vote before the August recess. As you may recall, the farm legislation failed to pass the House last month after Democrats opposed the addition of food stamp amendments. By splitting the food stamp and nutrition programs from the farm bill, Republicans hope they can gain more support from party ranks and pass the legislation without Democratic support. But that presents another challenge for farm programs, which will start expiring Oct. 1. The measure that passes, however, must be reconciled with the Senate’s already-approved legislation. And Sen. Debbie Stebanow, the Michigan Democrat who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, has already said a farm bill that doesn’t include food stamps won’t be considered. (Read more)
Warren’s Fight: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat who played a critical role in helping to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is urging Senate Republicans to confirm Richard Cordray as CFPB director once and for all. President Obama has appointed Cordray to the post twice, but he’s yet to be confirmed because Senate Republicans want to see changes to the bureau before they’ll approve any nominee. During a national telephone town hall Monday, Warren said Republican opposition to Cordray is “about keeping the game rigged, so the system continues to work for big financial institutions and corporations but not consumers,” and that the filibuster threat is “an attempt to weaken the consumer agency.” She added: “Rich Cordray deserves an up or down vote.” (Read more)
The Accidental Ban: Thanks to a Florida legislature that can’t seem to figure out how to properly word bills (remember the hullabaloo that erupted after it was thought a law banning bestiality inadvertently barred all sex too?), it’s technically illegal to use any sort of computer in the Sunshine State. At least that’s what a new lawsuit is claiming. The law was meant to ban Internet cafes that offer slot-like games. Instead, one Internet cafe owner who was shut down says the legislation is so poorly crafted that it can be applied to any device that connects to the Internet—such as computers and smartphones. It’s hard to believe Texas Gov. Rick Perry didn’t somehow have his hand in this major oops. (Read more)
Looking Ahead: And speaking of Perry, the National Journal’s Tom DeFrank says the three-term Texas governor’s announcement Monday that he would not seek re-election is a calculated effort to help his second presidential run. According to “well placed Republican sources,” Perry is trying to ensure that his waning popularity in the Lone Star State won’t be a hindrance to his White House aspirations. More from the National Journal: “Several Texas Republican sources told National Journal that despite Perry’s insistence Monday that he hasn’t decided on another presidential race, the governor has been passing the word for months he’ll definitely run again in 2016.” (Read more)
Criminal Intent: Across the country, marriage equality proponents have seen major victories recently, what with the legalization of same sex-marriage in several states (including California) and the Supreme Court gutting the Defense of Marriage Act. But those victories haven’t taken hold in every state. Case in point: Indiana. If you’re part of a same-sex couple who wants to get married, don’t even bother applying for a license in the Hoosier State, where gay marriage is prohibited; you could end up in prison for up to three years just for submitting the application to the county clerk. And to prove it’s pedaling backward on the issue, Indiana will decide next year whether to add the gay marriage ban to the state’s constitution. (Read more)
Video of the Day: A Texas woman courageously confronted Republican lawmakers as she testified against the state’s controversial anti-abortion legislation, and for her efforts, she was hauled away by state troopers. The alleged reason: She was being “disrespectful” toward one of the state senators, an ophthalmologist who she said was not an expert on reproductive health. “We can give you all the children with chlamydia and herpes in their eyes, since we don’t have sex ed in this state,” the woman said before Republican state Sen. Jane Nelson began accusing her of being disrespectful. Nelson then routinely interrupted the woman, in an effort clearly geared at silencing her, before state troopers intervened.