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Don Davis, Forum News Service, Published June 20 2013

Farm bill fails

WASHINGTON - The U.S. House this afternoon defeated 234-195 a farm bill that would have funded agriculture and nutrition programs for the next five years.

The defeat came after House Speaker House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., agreed to support the bill regardless of the outcome of a dairy program amendment. The dairy proposal, which was amended in Boehner’s favor, was one of the most controversial of the bill.

A majority of Republicans supported the bill, while 62 voted against it, and most Democrats opposed it. Much of the Democratic opposition came because the bill would have cut $20 billion from the food stamp program over the next decade.

Senators last week easily passed their version of the bill. It still could come back in the House before current farm policy expires this fall.

Today’s defeat was a surprise. Peterson, the House’s top ag Democrat, and Boehner had a long-standing dispute on the dairy issue. When they agreed to support the bill regardless of what happened to dairy, it appeared the bill would pass.

However, Peterson could attract just 24 of his party’s votes after amendment after amendment to ease food stamp cuts failed. Senators cut just $2 billion from food stamps in their bill.

The Republican-controlled House turned back several attempts to restore a $20 billion. A key was a 234-188 vote against fully restoring restore funding.