House disappoints on farm bill
Thumbs down to the members of the House of Representatives, Democrats and Republicans, who voted against passing the five-year farm bill that would have given farmers confidence to move forward with their business plans.
The votes had been coming together for bipartisan passage until the end when several poison pill amendments scuttled Republican and Democrat votes. In the end, the bill failed 234-195, with 62 Republicans voting against and only 24 Democrats voting for it. First District Democrat Congressman Tim Walz voted in favor of the bill.
The legislation that cut farm subsidies and food stamp programs alike was scuttled based on last minute amendments. Democrats bailed out of supporting when Republicans added amendments that added stringent work requirements for people on food stamps. Some Republicans voted against the bill because they said the $2 billion in food stamps program cuts weren’t enough.
In the end, predictably, Democrats and Republicans blamed each other for the farm bill’s demise. The Senate, last week, passed its version of the farm bill with overwhelming bipartisan support and cuts of $400 million to the food stamp program as well as cuts to farm subsidies.
With passage scuttled at least for now, the old farm bill will still apply, and that did not have many of the reforms and cuts to spending that would have been achieved with the new farm bill. It’s a kind of twisted irony that seems to be lost on those who voted against the bill.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., pleaded with his colleagues to pass the bill saying it carried some of the biggest reforms in years and saved $4 billion a year in spending.
He told them the public would look at defeat of the bill as another example of a dysfunctional Congress.