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Agriculture Committee Voting Report on Farm Bill

Last week, the House Agriculture Committee marked up the preposterous $957 billion farm/food stamp bill (H.R. 6083).  Despite the media reports about severe cuts to the food stamp program, this bill actually locks in the appalling levels of spending established in the Obama-era.  In many respects, the committee votes from last week shed light on the problem we have with many red state statists within the Republican Party.

Once again, we put together a voting record spreadsheet of the major committee votes on the bill at ConservativeVoting Records.com (download spread sheet here).  This will become a regular feature for major committee markups.  Here are the amendments we scored:

  • Rep. Bob Goodlatte amendment to phase out sugar price supports and import restrictions, which increase the cost of most food products while enriching a few special interests.  It was defeated 10-36.
  • Rep. Bob Goodlatte amendment to strike a New Deal-style program that limits dairy production when prices drop below a specific level.  Even John Boehner called this a “Soviet style” price support program.  It was defeated 17-29.
  • Rep. Tim Huelskamp amendment to cut an additional $35 billion from food stamps.  These cuts were actually already approved by the committee in the spring as part of the House GOP effort to replace the sequester, pursuant to the reconciliation instructions prescribed in the Ryan budget.  Nevertheless, this effort was defeated 13-33.
  • Rep. Martha Roby amendment that would require food stamp beneficiaries to provide proof of payment of utility bills in order to be eligible for the income deduction that lowers the threshold of income to be eligible for food stamps.  At present, many states mail out small cash assistance payments for utilities in order to lower the income of those recipients and sign up more people for food stamps.  This is a no brainer provision that Senator Sessions tried to slip in the Senate bill, but was rebuffed by Democrats.  One would expect that with a 26-20 Republican majority on the committee, commonsense would prevail.  But 7 Republicans joined with Democrats to defeat it 17-27.

The final bill passed overwhelmingly 35-11, with just 4 Republicans voting no.  Thank you to Bob Gibbs, Bob Goodlatte, Tim Huelskamp, and Marlin Stutzman for voting against the bill.  A special thank you to Reps. Goodlatte and Huelskamp for voting the right way on all the amendments.

We urge Speaker Boehner not to bring this bill to the floor.

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