Split Farm Bill Passes House, Sets Stage For Late Summer Senate Battle
WashingtonPost.com reports House Republicans successfully passed a Farm Bill Thursday, by splitting apart funding for food stamps from federal agricultural policy, a move that infuriated the White House and congressional Democrats who spent most of the day trying to delay a final vote.
Lawmakers voted 216 to 208 make changes to federal agricultural policy and conservation programs and end direct subsidy payments to farmers. But the measure says nothing about funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, which historically constitutes about 80% of the funding in a Farm Bill.
No House Democrat voted for the measure. Twelve Republicans also opposed it.
The vote made clear that Republicans intend to make significant reductions in food stamp money and handed Republican leaders a much-needed victory three weeks after conservative lawmakers and rural state Democrats revolted and blocked the original version of the bill that included food stamp money.
Several Democratic lawmakers rose in opposition to the plan early Thursday as debate began, with several of them repeatedly saying that the new bill “hurts the children of America” or “increases hunger in America.”
Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) mockingly made a parliamentary inquiry, saying he had just obtained a copy of the 600-page bill.
“It appears to have no nutrition title at all, is this a printing error?” Butterfield asked.
The nutrition title is the portion of the bill that sets food stamp funding.