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House drops food stamps, passes ag-only farm bill
House members defeated the broad farm bill last month on a 234-195 vote after conservatives attached an amendment cutting food-stamp benefits by $2 billion a year — a move that turned off many urban Democrats but also failed to assuage conservative Republicans, who said the measure was still too bloated.
The new agriculture-only bill costs approximately $200 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The original House bill was projected to cost $939 billion while reducing spending from current levels by $33.4 billion.
The conservative think tanks Heritage Action and the Club for Growth both oppose to the bill. Andy Roth, vice president of Government Affairs for the Club for Growth, sent a letter to congressional offices welcoming the split of the “unholy alliance” between agricultural policy and the food stamp program.
“However, the whole purpose of splitting up the bill is to enact true reform that reduces the size and scope of government,” he wrote. “It is still loaded down with market-distorting giveaways to special interests with no path established to remove the government’s involvement in the agriculture industry.”
Democrats said Republicans were violating their own rules by introducing the 608-page bill on Wednesday and forcing a vote Thursday, despite the GOP’s pledge to have bills available for three days before lawmakers are called to vote.
Mr. Boehner said Thursday he would have liked to have done things differently but said this bill is close to the previous bill that was defeated.
“And so we’re in a situation where our members know what the bill is, and I don’t believe that it violates either the rule or the spirit of the rule,” he said.
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About the Author
David Sherfinski covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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