Farm bill makes progress, but somewhat questionable progress
The House action that approved farm legislation with the bare minimum majority did not include votes from 12 Republican members who wanted more cuts in farm programs, and were part of 62 Republicans who voted against the legislation in June during a failed attempt to pass it. Earlier, the House leadership determined that 218 votes would not be needed because of several absences of House members Thursday. There were no Democrats who voted for the bill because of the total elimination of food and nutrition programs. Prior to the vote, many Democrats expressed concerns about the absence of funding, and said it would hurt rural Americans who benefit from food stamps, just as do urban residents.
Initially, Congressman Frank Lucas, chair of the House Agriculture Committee was opposed to the strategy of the Republican House leadership, but relented, indicating there would be little chance of anything else passing the House. Farm organizations had been quite supportive of the nutrition programs being included, and the American Farm Bureau remained opposed to the Republican leadership strategy, as did the National Farmers Union. However, the National Corn Growers at the last minute agreed to support the change. NCGA Chairman of the Board Garry Niemeyer said his group saw it as the only way to get new farm legislation, but expressed concerns about the way the stripped down bill was presented to the House just before the vote was taken.
Source: FarmGate blog
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