The U.S. House of Representatives failed to pass the five-year Senate Farm Bill on Thursday, drawing criticism from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers in both chambers of Congress.
The vote failed 195-234, with 16 Democrats and 62 Republicans opposing the measure, which would have cut $10 billion from the food stamps program over the next five years and increased subsidies for certain crops, ABC News reports.
“Failing to pass a long-term Farm Bill is completely unacceptable and irresponsible,” Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who helped draft the bill, said. “Our ranchers are already operating with no support to recover from last year’s drought because the House failed to act. And our farmers can’t operate their businesses on short-term extensions – they need certainty they can take to the bank. If the House can’t work together to bring a bill of its own to the negotiating table, they should take up the Senate bill right away. Every day the House fails to act, is another day one in five Montana jobs is left in limbo.”
Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), the chairman of the agriculture committee, however, expressed optimism on the ability of both parties to come together on the bill in the future.
“On this day, on this vote, the House worked its will,” Lucas said, according to ABC News. “I’m obviously disappointed, but the reforms in H.R. 1947 – $40 billion in deficit reduction, elimination of direct payments and the first reforms to [food stamps] since 1996 – are so important that we must continue to pursue them. We are assessing all of our options, but I have no doubt that we will finish our work in the near future and provide the certainty that our farmers, ranchers, and rural constituents need.”