House defeats farm bill amid bipartisan opposition
Fox News 6/20/13
In a defeat for Republican leadership, the House on Thursday
rejected a sweeping farm bill, amid opposition from both sides
of the aisle.
More than 60 House Republicans defected and voted against the
half-trillion-dollar bill, which sets funding for farm subsidies
and other assistance as well as food stamps.
The vote was 234-195 against the bill.
The defeat was not expected. House Speaker John Boehner, who
rarely votes, supported the bill. Members stood in silence as
they watched the scoreboard Thursday afternoon.
Chamber leaders were facing pressure from both sides. The plan
imposes significant cuts to food stamp programs and eliminates
direct payments to farmers. It also reworks the dairy program,
replacing guaranteed price supports with insurance.
Democrats opposed the cuts to food stamps. But powerful
conservative groups -- including the Heritage Foundation, which
is led by former Republican Sen. Jim DeMint -- lobbied against
some of the bill's remaining and costly farm subsidies. And some
Republicans pressed for deeper food stamp cuts.
Sixty-two Republicans voted no, while 24 Democrats voted in
favor of the bill.
Click to see the vote breakdown.
While Democratic leaders used the defeat to taunt their GOP
counterparts, conservative groups in Washington tried to cast
the outcome as a positive development -- an opportunity for, in
their words, "real reform."
"The time for reform is now. We need to put farm subsidies on a
path to elimination and we need to devolve food stamps to the
state level where they belong. With $17 trillion in debt, the
American taxpayers don't have time to wait," Chris Chocola,
president of the conservative Club for Growth, said in a
Republican leaders claimed Democrats failed to deliver on
"I am very disappointed in (House Democratic Leader) Nancy
Pelosi who chose partisanship over progress," House GOP Leader
Eric Cantor said.
Pelosi, though, denied the charge, calling the vote "amateur
hour." Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., top Democrat on the House
Agriculture Committee, said after the vote "if you over-reach,
you get nothing."
Both the food stamp and farm subsidy provisions were
On the former, the five-year bill would have cut $2 billion
annually from food stamps and allowed states to impose broad new
work requirements on food stamps. Many Republicans said the cuts
were not enough, while Democrats wanted to restore the money and
instead slash subsidy payments to farmers.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., sped
the chamber through consideration of almost all of lawmakers'
103 amendments to the legislation Wednesday night. The House at
one point adopted 38 amendments at once in a single vote.
The House bill, which would cut around $4 billion a year in
overall spending on farm and nutrition programs, expands crop
insurance programs and creates a new kind of crop insurance that
kicks in before farmers' paid policies do.
Boehner has said he has concerns about the overall legislation
but wanted to get the farm bill to House and Senate negotiators
for a potential deal. Aside from his concerns on the dairy
program, he said the change in policy is better than doing
Lucas says the bill is necessary to avoid farm crises and that
it has some of the biggest reforms in decades. It would
eliminate $5 billion a year in direct payments, subsidies that
are paid to farmers whether they grow crops or not. The measure
would also expand crop insurance and make it easier for rice and
peanut farmers to collect subsidies.
The Senate passed its version of the farm bill last week, with
about $2.4 billion a year in overall cuts and a $400 million
annual decrease in food stamps -- one-fifth of the House bill's
food stamp cuts.
Fox News' Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/06/20/house-to-vote-on-cuts-to-crop-insurance/#ixzz2WpXAMWN2
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