House Rejects Farm Bill

After several votes on amendments Thursday - the House rejected the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 with a vote of 195 to 234. Prior to the final vote - House members had defeated a motion to recommit 188 to 232. Just before that vote was taken - House Ag Chair Frank Lucas came to the floor to urge lawmakers to approve the bill - telling members that if the measure failed - he couldn't promise they would see another bill this session. The House had approved an amendment to remove supply management from the dairy title and replace it with a margin protection program and an amendment to reduce farm program payment limits - capping commodity payments at 250-thousand dollars per year for any one farm. An amendment to remove the changes made to the sugar program in the 2008 Farm Bill by lifting trade restrictions, lowering sugar price support levels and giving USDA more flexibility on domestic supply and import quotes was defeated on a vote of 206 to 221.

House members had agreed to repeal the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center, strike the addition of natural stone to the list of commodity products that can petition USDA for the issuance of a promotion and research order and apply federal welfare work requirements to SNAP, at state option. The amendment to create additional work requirements for SNAP recipients and raise the total reduction in spending to 31-billion dollars was rejected 175 to 250. An amendment to limit premium subsidies to producers with an Adjusted Gross Income under 250-thousand dollars was narrowly rejected earlier in the day - with a 208 to 217 vote. House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas and Ranking Member Collin Peterson had urged members to vote against the amendment - saying it would destroy Federal Crop Insurance. In all - the House considered more than 100 amendments before rejecting the underlying bill.

On the floor following the farm bill vote - Minority Whip Steny Hoyer seemed to suggest the amendment approved to apply federal welfare work requirements to SNAP was the deal breaker for many Democrats. He accused the Republican leadership of taking a bipartisan bill and making it partisan through the amendment process.

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