Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday that the House, which failed to pass a farm bill last week, should take up the upper chamber’s version instead of extending benefits for the short term.
“Doing nothing means no reform, no deficit reduction and no certainty for America’s 16 million farm-industry workers,” Mr. Reid, Nevada Democrat, said on the Senate floor.
House Speaker John A. Boehner saw his Republican majority in the House split, once again, over a five-year farm bill that would have cut food-stamp benefits by $2 billion per year.
The conservative wing of the chamber said the cuts did not go far enough, while Democrats decried the cuts as cruel.
Taken together, their opposition resulted in the bill’s failure. Each party accused the other of failing to come through with a proper allotment of votes.
Now, the House will have to decide whether it tries again or extends existing benefits as a stop-gap measure.
Mr. Reid on Monday advised them to take the third route — debate the Senate’s version, which does not cut food stamps as deeply.
“If the speaker took up the Senate’s bipartisan measure, it would easily pass the House with both Republican and Democratic votes,” Mr. Reid said. “There’s no shame in passing a bill that moderates from both parties can support.”