This morning marks a second chance for the farm bill in the House of Representatives. While the Senate version of the legislation passed on June 10, the House version collapsed in a surprising 195 to 243 vote on June 20. Now, nearly a month later, a drastically revised version of the bill will reach the House floor once again.
In effort to pass the legislation, Republicans adopted the risky strategy of splitting the bill. Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) chief-of-staff Mike Sommers described the decision as an act of necessity: “We will act on passage of the farm portions first and then attempt to pass the [food stamp] portions. I know this isn’t ideal, but it is the only way I believe we get a farm bill.”
Thus, the 608-page bill to come to vote today will exclude the nutrition title and food stamp programs. Food stamps represented one of the main sources of conflict for the original House version of the farm bill. While liberals found the cuts too severe, conservatives found them too sparse.
Many have spoken out against the decision to split the bill, including major agricultural groups, such as the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union, which described the method as a “recipe to kill the bill.”
Votes were slated to start as early as 10:30 a.m.