Home Indiana Agriculture News Congressional Reaction to House Farm Bill Defeat

Congressional Reaction to House Farm Bill Defeat

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A funny thing happened on the way to final passage of the Farm Bill — 234 congressman, including 60 republicans, voted NO on a new 5 year Farm Bill. Iowa Congressman and member of the Ag committee Steve King was shell-shocked after the vote. “I am extremely disappointed, especially for all the people who put in so much work the past two years in the Farm Bill,” said King. “I am disappointed for the taxpayers and for America. I will continue my work with Chairman Lucas and other agriculture leaders in Congress, and reassess. I am hopeful we will find a path forward.”

 

Indiana Congressman Marlin Stutzman voted against the bill because 80% of the expenditure went to food and nutrition programs and not agriculture, “But for too long this Congress has combined farm policy and nutrition policy and what we have now is a bill that spends $740 billion on food stamps and $200 billion on farm policy. This shouldn’t be the case.”

 

Democrats quickly took to the floor to blame Republicans for the defeat. “Don’t blame Democrats for the loss today,” said House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland. “The reason the bill lost today is because 62 of your members rejected a call to support the legislation.” House Ag Committee Frank Lucas pledged to fight to bring the back to the floor in the near future, “On this day, on this vote, the House worked its will.  I’m obviously disappointed, but the reforms in H.R. 1947 — $40 billion in deficit reduction, elimination of direct payments and the first reforms to SNAP since 1996 — are so important that we must continue to pursue them.”  House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin C. Peterson, D-Minn said in a statement, “The Farm Bill failed to pass the House today because the House Republicans could not control the extreme right wing of their party.”

 

Reaction from the Senate, that passed their Farm Bill last week, was predictable.  Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly, a member of the Senate Ag Committee, said, “I am disappointed that the House did not pass a version of a five-year Farm Bill so we could go to a conference committee, work through our differences, and get a bill signed into law.  The Senate passed a bipartisan, five-year Farm Bill that would reduce the deficit and give Hoosier farmers and rural communities the certainty they deserve.  It is time for the House to do the same.” Senate Ag Committee Debbie Stabenow called on the House to get its act together, “Maintaining the status quo means no reform, no deficit reduction, and further uncertainty that slows growth in our agriculture industry. This is totally unacceptable.”

 

 

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Villsack, who has kept his distance from the Farm Bill debate said, “The failure by the House leadership, for the second year in a row, to reach consensus on a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill is a tremendous disappointment for all Americans. Twice now, the U.S. Senate has done its job and passed balanced, comprehensive legislation with overwhelming bipartisan support. Unfortunately, the House version of this bill would have unfairly denied food assistance for millions of struggling families and their children, while failing to achieve needed reforms or critical investments to continue economic growth in rural America. As a result, the House was unable to achieve bipartisan consensus.”



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