Had Republicans drafted and brought a clean farm bill to a vote in the House today it probably would have passed with flying colors. Agricultural subsidies are a form of wealth redistribution even most conservatives agree with. But they couldn’t resist a chance to punch the unemployed and working poor in the stomach along the way and the bill failed:
Plum Line — In another embarrassment for House Speaker John Boehner, the farm bill went down to a surprise defeat in the House this afternoon, 195-234. Most Democrats voted against it, because of its deep cuts to food stamps, but what really sealed its fate is that in spite of those cuts, 62 Republicans voted against it, too, apparently because it didn’t cut spending enough.
The leadership of the House GOP — which, last time I checked, controls the Lower Chamber – is blaming Democrats for failing to deliver enough votes to make passage possible. A spokesman for Eric Cantor claimed it shows Dems “are not able to govern.”
Democrats balked en masse because the bill cut food stamps. A few Teaparty Republicans, who don’t realize or don’t care that cutting government spending and letting the free market work its wondrous magic are merely ploys to slash the social safety net, also refused to support it. All eyes now turn to the Senate version which is measurably less odious.
Meanwhile House Republicans led by Eric Cantor, who hold a significant majority and can pass anything anytime they want, turned to the intertoobz to blame Democrats for not going helping them screw over the weak on behalf of the powerful.
“I’m extremely disappointed that Nancy Pelosi and Democratic leadership have at the last minute chosen to derail years of bipartisan work on the Farm Bill and related reforms. This bill was far from perfect, but the only way to achieve meaningful reform, such as Congressman Southerland’s amendment reforming the food stamp program, was in conference.
“I strongly supported the Southerland amendment which built on successful welfare reforms that have worked in the past to give states more flexibility and encourage self-sufficiency by increasing workforce participation among those enrolled in the SNAP program. I commend Chairman Frank Lucas and the House Agriculture Committee for their efforts, and am sorry that Democrats shamefully chose politics over progress and meaningful reform.”