House rejects 2013 farm bill

The House of Representatives voted Thursday to defeat the 2013 five-year $1 trillion farm bill in a 195-234 vote.

The highly publicized bill contained $20.5 billion in food-stamp cuts, forfeiting Democratic votes and alienating more than half of Republicans that withheld support for even steeper cuts.

The down vote means the bill won’t go to conference in the Senate, which passed its own version last week. The White House had threatened to veto the House version.

In the final vote tally, only 24 Democrats voted for the bill, with 64 Republicans voting against.

Aides of Republican leaders blamed Democrats for failing to deliver the 40 votes needed to pass the bill, which early whip counts indicated were shaky, but possible.

“This was a vote to go to conference, and (Democrats) chose … Instead to put politics behind years of bipartisan support,” a spokesman for Virginia Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor said following the vote Thursday, according to Roll Call. “Unfortunately, Nancy Pelosi and Democratic leadership decided that politics was more important than going to conference and getting things done.”

Defeat of the bill marks another blow to the House GOP leadership team, in particular Speaker John Boehner, who came out in support of the bill last week. Boehner was unable to bring the one-year-overdue farm bill in 2012 for fear of losing support within his caucus amid the “fiscal cliff” debate.

Failure to pass the farm legislation illustrates the challenges that the Ohio Republican faces with his new bottom-up leadership approach.

The bill would have ended direct payments to farmers, including those who no longer actively farm, cut disaster aid and reformed some crop insurance programs.

Numerous amendments were considered, including revoking dairy farm production limits, farm subsidy cuts, sugar pricing and replacing the food-stamp cuts. The latter three were defeated along largely partisan line votes, leaving with bill without majority support.

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