House to Split Farm Bill, Vote Thursday

House to Split Farm Bill, Vote Thursday

Sources on Capitol Hill have told Breitbart News that, on Thursday, the House likely will make another attempt to pass the Farm Bill. Last month, GOP Leadership suffered a rare defeat when the Farm Bill failed on the House floor by a vote of 195-234. Sixty-two Republicans, including seven committee chairs, defected and voted against the nearly $1 trillion bill. 

The overwhelming majority of spending in the Farm Bill is for the food stamp program. According to sources, the current House Leadership plan is to separate the provisions dealing with food stamps from the underlying bill dealing with traditional farm support programs. Much of the opposition to the original Farm Bill centered on the magnitude of cuts in food stamps. Conservatives didn’t think the cuts went far enough, while liberals felt they went too far. Stripping the food stamp program out of the bill should increase its chances of passing. 

Losing a floor vote is an embarrassment for Leadership. It controls the legislative calendar and uses this to bring forward legislation only when it is sure it has the votes to pass. The large defection of Republicans caught them off guard. Monday evening, Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor reportedly vented some of his frustration by scolding the committee chairs who voted against the bill. 

The Senate has already passed its version of a Farm Bill. The two bills will have to be reconciled in conference. It is unclear whether the House will vote on a separate bill to reauthorize the food stamp program or negotiate that in conference.