The Illinois Farm Bureau is expressing its disappointment in the failure of the U.S. House to pass a farm bill.
The House rejected a five year, half-trillion-dollar farm bill that would have cut $2 billion annually from food stamps and let states impose broad new work requirements on those who receive them. Illinois Farm Bureau National Legislative Director Adam Nielsen said leadership needs to emerge for any solution to be enacted.
"It's obviously very disappointing for those of us in the agriculture community who have been working for the better part of two years trying to get a five-year farm bill enacted," Nielsen said. "The hope is that we won't see days and days of finger pointing and blame game."
The vote was 234-195 against the bill. 62 Republicans voted no, while 24 Democrats voted in favor of the bill. Members of both parties had signaled opposition to the food stamp cuts in the bill.
"I'm extremely disappointed in the vote, but I knew we faced an uphill battle," Congressman Rodney Davis said. "This vote should serve as a reminder of how far we've come, but how far we still have to go, and I believe if we continue to work we can get there. We owe it to our farmers to pass a responsible, long-term Farm Bill that cuts spending, makes common sense reforms and maintains a strong crop insurance program."
Nielsen said he doesn't know where the action will go next. The defeat was highly unexpected.
"This is in uncharted waters for the most part," he said. "Leadership doesn't put a bill on the floor of the House unless it has the votes; they don't take chances in this day and age. I think it may have been easier to vote against it once lawmakers saw it wasn't going to get to 218."
Democrats objected to a proposed cut of two-billion a year in food stamps. Some in the GOP said the cuts didn't go far enough.
Nielsen said the Farm Bureau was excited to have crop insurance provisions in the bill and a reduced food program attached. He credited Central Illinois lawmakers like Davis, Adam Kinzinger, and Aaron Schock for their understanding of what the bill needed and hopes better organization can find a solution soon.