Critics rip massive farm bill over wasteful gov't spending

Debate over 'pork' in legislation


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," February 4, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: I only point this out to you folks, and the reason why it`s got my goat here -- and, for all I know, we giving money to goats -- is that we don`t have the money to do any of this. We`re really deep in debt here.

And whatever improvement we made on the deficit and they were heralding, it`s only half a trillion now, we`re on our way to Paris, we`re not. We`re not. We`re broke.

So, forget that the nation`s debt its ballooning, right? These guys just cannot stop gorging.

David Maney says it`s disgusting. Gretchen Hamel says it`s not much better.

Gretchen, what do you make of this?

GRETCHEN HAMEL, FOUNDER, HIGHLINE STRATEGIES: Well, you know, I`m a farm and ranch girl and I`m probably going to get in trouble back home for saying this, but this bill is filled with a lot of pork.

And when we`re $17 trillion in debt, you can`t have a bill pass like this and pass in a bipartisan manner it did. It shows no fiscal responsibility of those in Washington, but even more so, it`s creating this problem, this systemic problem that we have across the nation of more and more people and agencies and departments within our economy wanting to depend on the government for money. And that`s taxpayer money.

CAVUTO: All right, now, David, one of the things they brag about this in this -- or at least Republicans tout -- is that they have combined, you know, what had been 12 related programs into five. What they leave out is they`re still spending the same amount of money.

DAVE MANEY, FOUNDER, ECONOMANEY.COM: Well, it`s not just that, Neil.

Look, every one of these things, when the government steps in to fix a market, we`re going to give you -- we`re going to control this market, we`re going to step on this lever, we`re going to move this thing over here, we`re going to promote this product, we`re going to -- we`re going to market more sheep, all of it distorts markets, free markets.

And free markets are what bring efficiency and have historically made the U.S. economy the beacon of the world. Here, what you get is the government trying to step in the way, which inevitably can only make those markets less efficient, which means more consumers pay more out of their wallets, while we watch money going to sheep marketing subsidies. I mean, give me a break.

CAVUTO: They`re trying to pull the wool over our eyes. That`s what they`re doing.


CAVUTO: But, you know, Gretchen, I`m all for understanding cynically that Washington, each party has its sacred cows -- and, by the way, this does cover cows -- but we have to realize that what -- what is valuable to you, Senator, what is valuable to you, Senator, we don`t have the money, Senator, so we`re going to have to make some tough choices.

And I really think it`s incumbent on both parties to make those tough choices, and in this environment, you are going to have to leave out the catfish. In this environment, you`re going to have cool it on the Christmas trees. You`re going to have really pick and choose your battles.

And I think in a nation that is just flat broke, you`re just picking and choosing your pork.

HAMEL: Yeah, there`s pork all in this.

And like you said, every state has its ag product that it supports and that it wants money for.

CAVUTO: Absolutely.

HAMEL: But just as much as we need energy independence, we have ag independence right now. We`re able to sustain ourselves as a nation with the food that we have.

And we need to be able to continue that. So what we need to do is have a farm bill that is real farm policy that goes back to the basics of what a farm bill should do.


CAVUTO: We don`t do it.

HAMEL: And that is to provide a safety net for those farmers, less than 2 percent of all Americans, who...

CAVUTO: The people who need it.

HAMEL: ... every day...

CAVUTO: Bingo, the people who need it. And...


HAMEL: Yes, absolutely, the people who need it.


CAVUTO: And, invariably, I will tell you, Dave, I`m going to get e-mails from people who say, oh, yes, but you say nothing about the $4 billion we provide oil companies and the subsidies or whatever.

HAMEL: It`s the same thing. I would say the same thing about them.

CAVUTO: If anyone is a regular viewer of this show, I say the same thing. I have said on this show I don`t think any company that is making money hand over fist needs to get a subsidy, least of all the oil guys. I have said that, so just dismiss that argument.

This idea of coddling industries that don`t need it, of looking after causes that really aren`t worth it, I think we just have to make some tough decisions, in an environment, Dave, as you say, where we don`t have a lot of money to throw around. In fact, we have no money to throw around. We`re not doing that. So a pox on Republicans and Democrats alike.

MANEY: Well, I would agree with that.

Look, you can say this is how Washington works and this is how the government works, and there`s an element of truth to that. But, by God, it`s not a good way to work.


MANEY: And I do know that in an environment where we`re saying, how about if we get them involved in health care, how about if we get them involved in financial services, how about if we get them involved in energy policy, how about if we get them involved in every aspect of our lives, I look at it and say, you know what? Let the market work.

CAVUTO: Yes. Well, as the cows would say, we have got to moo-ve on.


HAMEL: That`s bad.

CAVUTO: I tried. I tried.

HAMEL: That is just bad.


CAVUTO: Thank you. It is. You`re right. You`re right.

Content and Programming Copyright 2014 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2014 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.