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House defeats farm bill
Thursday, the House of Representatives defeated a farm bill that cuts food stamp spending too much for most Democrats. It also, for the first time ever, would have put a strong $250,000 cap on commodity program payment limits, putting it in line with payment limits already adopted in the Senate's farm bill. The vote was 195 for and 234 against.
Just before the vote, Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) said he had tried to reach consensus with the bill, which drew a round of applause.
"If it fails today, I can't guarantee that you'll see in this Congress another attempt," Lucas said. "If you care about your folks. If you care about this institution . . . Vote with us.
"If you don't, they'll just say it's a dysfunctional body, full of dysfunctional people," he added. "You know that's not true."
During two days of debate, House members usually followed the advice of committee leaders, narrowly rejecting an amendment by Representative Ron Kind (D-WI) to cap crop insurance premium subsidies, as well as efforts to reduce price supports for sugar. The House passed an amendment to block a new dairy risk management program championed by the committee's ranking member, Collin Peterson (D-MN).