A U.S. House of Representatives vote has killed the farm bill (also known as FARRM), or at least one version of it.
The bill went down 234-195 and has left many farm bill supporters flustered. Reportedly, House members watched in silence as the votes rolled in.
The vote was surprising to many, because it was called by House Speaker John Boehner, who supports the bill. Many are saying that the bills failure was because of late amendments regarding milk and food stamps.
“I am deeply disappointed and frustrated by the House’s failure to pass a five-year Farm Bill today," said Montana Representative Steve Daines. "This legislation is long overdue and it is unacceptable that Congress continues to stand in the way of providing our ag producers and rural communities with a long-term solution. Today is a prime example of what is wrong with Washington—putting politics ahead of people. Agriculture is not only an important part of Montana’s economy—it’s a critical industry that impacts each and every American. While not perfect, the House Farm Bill provided much-needed certainty for Montana’s ag producers and important cost-saving reforms to many Farm Bill programs. Congress needs to do its job and pass a five-year Farm Bill before the current extension expires.”
Montana's Senior Senator Max Baucus also weighed in on the topic saying,
“Failing to pass a long-term Farm Bill is completely unacceptable and irresponsible. Our ranchers are already operating with no support to recover from last year’s drought because the House failed to act. And our farmers can’t operate their businesses on short-term extensions – they need certainty they can take to the bank,” Baucus said. “If the House can’t work together to bring a bill of its own to the negotiating table, they should take up the Senate bill right away. Every day the House fails to act, is another day one in five Montana jobs is left in limbo.”
An email from House Majority Whip's office indicates that political pressure may have been put on house democrats from the White House to vote against the bill (below).
House Democrats promised 40 votes on final passage of FARRM. This afternoon, Ranking Member Peterson alerted Chairman Lucas at the very last minute that he could not produce what he promised under pressure from both the White House and House Democratic leadership. Republicans delivered the exact number of votes we had promised, per our very accurate whip count. Today, good faith bipartisanship is trumped by bad faith politics.
- Erica L. Elliott, Office of the Majority Whip