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At the cost of $100 billion taxpayer dollars a year, the Farm Bill pays for controversial policies, including food stamps and subsidies to big agribusiness. Now it's expired, and compromise is stalled by partisanship. We hear about Republican and Democratic versions and what might happen if no bill passes at all. Also, the Supreme Court hears a union organizing case, and same-sex marriage goes back to Hawaii — where it began.

Banner image: Lars Plougmann

Making News Supreme Court Hears Union Organizing Case 7 MIN, 45 SEC

The US Supreme Court today heard arguments for and against a strategy used recently by unions to successfully organize workers. It's called a "neutrality agreement," and a case turns on whether it constitutes a "thing of value" under federal law. Tom Taylor is Assistant managing editor at Bloomberg BNA.

Tom Taylor, US Law Week (@Tom_PTaylor)

Main Topic The Farm Bill and America's Food Supply 35 MIN, 3 SEC

The Farm Bill dates back to the Great Depression, when family farms were in trouble and many Americans could not afford what they needed to eat. It gives taxpayer support to a huge range of Americans, from the poor who survive on food stamps to wealthy farmers insured against losses. New versions have passed roughly every five years on a bipartisan basis, but the latest effort is more evidence that there is no bipartisanship any more. Republicans in the House and Democrats in the Senate have passed different versions, and compromise may fall victim to competing interests and ideologies. A conference committee with 41 members from both sides is meeting behind closed doors to work out a compromise. If there's no agreement, farm policy could revert back to 1938, driving an increase in the price of some foods.

Alan Bjerga, Bloomberg News (@AlanBjerga)
Jerry Hagstrom, Hagstrom Report (@hagstromreport‎)
Vincent Smith, Montana State University
Roger Johnson, National Farmers Union (@NationalFarmersUnion)
Craig Cox, Environmental Working Group (@EWGsoilman)

Endless Appetites

Alan Bjerga

Today's Talking Point Hawaii Comes Full Circle, Legalizes Gay Marriage 8 MIN, 29 SEC

By the end of today, Hawaii will be the fifteenth state to legalize same-sex marriage, a moment rich with historical irony. Hawaii's State Supreme Court recognized that right 20 years ago, setting off a backlash that impacted the rest of the country. Since 1993, Hawaii's controversy over same-sex marriage has established a pattern for other states and for Washington, DC, where the Defense of Marriage Act was enacted with Hawaii in mind. Jonathan Goldberg-Hiller is professor of Political Science at the University of Hawaii and author of The Limits to Union, a history of the controversy.

Jonathan Goldberg-Hiller, University of Hawaii Manoa (@UHManoaNews)

The Limits to Union

Jonathan Goldberg-Hiller

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