WASHINGTON -- House
Even with the massive reduction in food aid, though, Republican leaders could barely rally support to pass the bill. In the past, farm bills have reliably won support from congressional Republicans, many of whom represent rural districts, but last month conservatives defeated a version of the measure, which they decried as overspending.
This time, with the food stamp section of the bill removed, it passed 216-208, with 12 Republicans joining all Democrats in opposition.
Approval may be short-lived. The version of the legislation that was passed by the
Republican leaders said they would put forward a separate bill to make changes in the food stamp program. That bill might address conservative criticism that the
“I’m pleased the House took a positive first step forward in providing some much-needed reforms to our farm programs today,” said House Speaker
Democrats, though, were outraged at withholding support for the food stamp program. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus used the final hour of debate to press the issue.
“Shame on the Republicans. Shame on the
Passage of the bill after it had been defeated last month represented a victory of sorts for Boehner and Rep.
Conservative groups have continued to protest government spending on agricultural support payments for farmers and other measures they say are unnecessary.
The Farm Bureau was also displeased with the outcome and the removal of the food assistance programs.
The farm organization had been "hopeful the farm bill would not be split," said Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. "We will now focus our efforts on working with lawmakers to deliver a farm bill to the president's desk for his signature by September."