After an embarrassing failure to pass a farm bill last month, House Republicans on Thursday narrowly passed a modified version of the bill that stripped-out funding authorization for food stamps and nutrition programs.
The vote was 216-208, with all Democrats voting against it. Twelve Republicans also voted against the bill.
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House Speaker John Boehner arrives to speak to the media during his weekly news conference on Capitol Hill, July 11, 2013 in Washington.
This time, leaders brought legislation to the floor that did not include language regarding funding authorization for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), earning the ire of Democrats and a veto threat from the White House.
House Democrats worked to create procedural headaches as Republicans scrambled for support on their own side. They forced five procedural votes on the floor, pushing the final vote back by hours.
And those who objected to the removal of the food stamp measure were vocal in their opposition during debate on the floor.
"This is a sad day in the House of Representatives, I want you to know that. This is the people's house, and to separate the Farm Bill from the elderly, from the children, this is a shame," said Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla. "Mitt Romney was right, you all do not care about the 47 percent."
Republican aides say the House will consider the food stamp funding authorization separately at another date. But that separate vote would be expected to include amendments that Democrats consider poison pills -- like one introduced by Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., to apply federal welfare work requirements to food stamp programs.
It’s unclear what how exactly the Senate will react to the House legislation, as it will have to be blended with the upper chamber’s version of the bill. And late last night, President Barack Obama said he would veto the House version.
The first attempt to pass the bill unexpectedly failed on the House floor on June 20 after Democrats failed to deliver the number of votes Republicans said they expected to get from across the aisle. And many conservative members, citing too much government involvement in the agriculture industry, voted against it as well.
While the move to split the bill won enough support to pass the GOP-led House, some conservative groups were still not happy about it.
One influential conservative group, Club for Growth, warned Republicans earlier Wednesday to oppose the split bill because it is still "loaded down with market-distorting giveaways to special interests with no path established to remove the government's involvement in the agriculture industry."
The Heritage Foundation also said it opposes the split farm bill.
First published July 11 2013, 8:52 AM