WASHINGTON, D.C.–The five-year Farm Bill has failed in the U.S. House, with Mississippi’s delegation supporting the measure that would have guaranteed some subsidies, but would have made substantial cuts to the food stamp program.
The final vote tally was 234 to 195. Defeat for the bill was a surprise to many, with House Speaker John Boehner casting a rare vote in support of the measure.
While it was a largely bi-partisan compromise in the Senate, whose bill passed 66 to 27, when it went to the House, Mississippi’s delegation voted right along party lines.
Representatives Alan Nunelee, Steven Palazzo and Greg Harper voted for the bill, while the state’s lone Democrat Bennie Thompson voted against it.
Some of the key measures would have affected some Mississippians’ ability to receive SNAP, the current moniker for the food stamp program. In fact, more than $2 billion would have been cut from the program under the bill and states would have been allowed to impose work requirements.
The bill would have also reworked the way farmers get subsidies, eliminating some direct payments to farmers.
Only 24 Democrats voted for the bill, while 62 Republicans voted no. Many republicans wanted the food stamp cuts to go further.
Sen. Thad Cochran, who was instrumental in authoring and pushing the Senate bill as Ranking Member on the Senate Agriculture Committee, released this statement after the bill’s defeat:
“The agriculture community and our economy need the certainty that comes with a five-year farm bill. We face a September deadline to provide that certainty, and I am hopeful the House will still be able to come back and pass a bill that can be responsibly conferenced with the farm bill passed by the Senate.”