House rejects farm bill, 62 Republicans vote no

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 20, 2013 at 7:53 pm •  Published: June 20, 2013
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"Rural communities and families relying on nutrition assistance should not be held hostage to Republican incompetence," Reid said.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., said Thursday that the committee is assessing all its options and will continue its work in the "near future."

Just before the vote, Lucas pleaded with his colleagues' support, saying that if the measure didn't pass people would use it as an example of a dysfunctional Congress.

"If it fails today I can't guarantee you'll see in this Congress another attempt," he said.

Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, the senior Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, said he believes the work requirements and a vote that scuttled a proposed dairy overhaul turned too many lawmakers against the measure.

"I had a bunch of people come up to me and say I was with you but this is it, I'm done," Peterson said after the vote.

Boehner voted for the bill but lobbied for the dairy amendment that caused some dairy-state lawmakers to eventually turn on the legislation. Cantor vocally supported the amendment that imposed the work requirements, coming to the House floor just before that vote and the final vote to endorse it.

Though passage has been in the balance all week, the vote against the bill was larger than many expected. When the final vote count was read, House Democrats cheered loudly, led by members of the Congressional Black Caucus who had fought the food stamp cuts.

The defeat is also a major victory for conservative taxpayer groups and environmental groups who have unsuccessfully worked against the bill for years. Those groups have aggressively lobbied lawmakers in recent weeks, hoping to capitalize on the more than 200 new members of the House since the last farm bill passed five years ago. Many of those new members are conservative Republicans who replaced moderate rural Democrats who had championed farm policy.

Those groups were emboldened after the vote.

"We need to put farm subsidies on a path to elimination and we need to devolve food stamps to the state level where they belong," said Chris Chocola, president of the conservative advocacy group Club for Growth.

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Associated Press writers Jim Abrams, Alan Fram and Henry C. Jackson contributed to this report.

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Follow Mary Clare Jalonick on Twitter: http://twitter.com/mcjalonick

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