The House voted down the farm bill Thursday to the surprise of both parties. One of the Democrats who voted against the bill said its failure was the result of “dysfunctional leadership.”
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California criticized the way Republicans handled the bill, but said he ultimately voted against the bill because it included too many cuts to food stamp and other social programs.
“It’s a very dysfunctional House with a very dysfunctional House leadership,” Schiff said on Friday’s The Daily Rundown.
“I think it was a bad bill,” Schiff explained. “It already very substantially–much more than I wanted–cut food stamp benefits. But then they had yet another amendment to further cut those benefits. And that was too much for most Democrats to stomach.”
Schiff introduced a disclosure bill Thursday that would aim to further protect Americans’ phone data after the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance programs were revealed.
“The better way would be to have the telecommunications companies retain their own records and when we need to query them, we will query them,” said Schiff.
“I think that would be much more protective of the privacy interests of the American people than requiring us to get all the data and query it even if we only query it 300 times in a year,” he added.
The new legislation would also require the attorney general to declassify opinions coming from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court, known as the Fisa court.
While President Obama has not revealed details of plans to deliver military aid to Syrian rebels, Schiff said he believes the focus should be on providing humanitarian aid and disabling chemical weapons instead.
“After two wars, a lot of us are war weary and not eager to see ourselves getting immersed in a sectarian civil war,” explained Schiff.
“I would much rather see us focus on trying to meet the humanitarian needs in the region. There are tremendous numbers of refugees; we can do a lot more there,” said Schiff. “And to focus on the chemical weapons issue. This is where our paramount national security issue lies.”