Yesterday afternoon, the farm bill was voted down in the House of Representatives by a surprisingly large margin of 195 to 234. While the bill was expected to be received unfavorably by the Democrats — who largely oppose the significant cuts the bill makes to nutrition programs like SNAP — 62 Republicans voted against the bill in addition to 172 Democrats. (You can see the individual breakdown here.)
Earlier this week, the Obama administration expressed several concerns with the farm bill, which didn’t bode well for the bill’s future, even if it had passed the House. Still, the bill’s failure in the House comes as a defeat and even an embarrassment for Speaker John Boehner, who last week pledged to vote in its favor.
A farm bill only comes to Congress every five years and now that the legislation has collapsed in the House, the question becomes: What now? Says Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), “We now face an uncertain future for farm policy.”
The next step, then, remains to be determined. The House Agriculture Committee is “accessing all [its] options.” Until the House makes a final decision — whether that is trying revive another House version or more simply assuming the Senate version — the path for farm legislation is unplowed.