Historically Bipartisan Farm Bill Fails in House
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Historically Bipartisan Farm Bill Fails in House

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June 24, 2013

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The House last week rejected a five-year $940 billion Farm Bill by a vote of 195-234.

Most Democrats voted against the legislation because it cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by more than $20 billion. Many Republicans also voted no, but because they thought the bill was too expensive.

The House version of the Farm Bill had significantly larger cuts than the measure the Senate adopted earlier this month.

In the original bill, more than half of the reductions, totaling $20.5 million, would have come from SNAP, denying benefits to almost 2 million people in more than 40 states. And by targeting the eligibility criteria, those affected would have been primarily low-income working families and seniors.

During debate on the House floor, an amendment offered by Rep. McGovern (D-MA) to turn back the SNAP cuts was defeated and an amendment offered by Rep. Southerland (R-FL) to further restrict access was adopted.

In the end, the bill failed to garner enough votes for passage. A quarter of the Republican caucus, 62 in all, joined 172 Democrats in opposition to the bill, and only 171 Republicans and 24 Democrats voted in support.

Despite the fact that farmers’ subsides and prices will revert to 1949 levels without a renewal of the Farm Bill, agriculture industry supporters on both sides of the aisle appear unable to reach a consensus. 

At this point, it’s unclear how this historically bipartisan bill will be able to move forward in the current political environment in Congress.

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