Washington, D.C. — A $940 billion farm subsidy legislation dubbed the Farm Bill, failed in the House of Representatives June 20.
Sixty-two Republicans joined 172 Democrats, to defeat the bill on a 195-234 vote.
President Barack Obama had threatened to veto the House legislation if it were to have reached his desk.
The Republican-written bill included provision that would have cut $20.5 billion to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program within the next 10 years. The food stamp programs are meant to feed the nation’s hungry.
The cuts would shave less than 5 percent off of the program’s budget, but about 1.8 million people would lose benefits and 1.7 million people’s benefit would shrink.
In addition, food stamp benefit reductions are expected in November, when the 2009 stimulus bill expires.
Farm bills are usually authorized in 5-year increments. Due to Congress’ failure to pass the Farm Bill, Congress was forced to extend the previous bill until September 30. Senate Democrats passed their bill June 10.
Rep. Janice Hahn took to the House Floor, June 19, to urge her colleagues to vote against the House Farm Bill.
“We begin consideration of the House Farm Bill—the farm bill that takes $20 billion from the hungry in cuts to SNAP, $20 billion from the plates of fellow Americans who are struggling to feed themselves even with this meager benefit,” she said. “I am holding in mind the words of Jesus from the gospel of Matthew: ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
“In my communities alone, 145,000 people rely on this benefit. Over half of them are children. This bill takes food from their mouths.”
In 2010, about 80 percent of all spending from the Farm Bill went toward domestic food assistance programs, with the remaining 10% dominated mostly by commodity programs. The SNAP benefits totaled $64.7 billion.
Ironically, the House Farm Bill creates new subsidy programs for farmers. The Department of Agriculture oversees SNAP and administers farm support.