The House voted against its Farm Bill June 20, after the Senate had passed its own version.
The key reason for the bill’s failure is its cuts to food stamps. Many Democrats objected to the approximately $2 billion in cuts, while most Republicans wanted more cuts. The votes came out 195 yeas and 234 nays.
Republican Rep. Mike Conway of Texas introduced a bill to trigger deeper cuts–15 percent–to food stamps, if the House does not pass a farm bill by Sept. 30, the Washington Post reported.
Conway praised the House bill when it came out of committee in May, saying: “The Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act contains the strongest reforms to the food stamp program – SNAP – since the 1996 welfare reform bill, resulting in savings of almost $20.5 billion.”
The defeated bill would have cut Supplemental Nutritional Assistance, or SNAP (or food stamps), by 3 percent.
About one in seven Americans, 47.7 million, use food stamps, up from 26 million or one in 11 in 2007. Over half of the recipients are people over 60 or people under 18, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
The bill also addresses reforms to the way crop insurance is handled, according to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla).
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 $2 billion food stamp cuts.
The Associated Press contributed to this report