On Thursday, an increasingly divided U.S. House of Representatives shot down a $940 billion farm bill.
The bill had been widely expected to receive bipartisan support. However, an unlikely coalition of conservatives Republicans and liberal Democrats emerged to block its passage. In the end, only 24 Democrats voted for the bill, which failed in a 234-195 vote, the Wall Street Journal noted.
Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Democrat House Leader, said the bill’s defeat was a sign that the chamber’s Republican majority has lost the ability to govern. GOP House leaders fired back, accusing Democrats of backtracking on prior promises and putting politics above policy.
The bill’s demise came as a blow to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who had backed the measure. When 62 Republicans defied him, the bill sank to defeat. Boehner has faced increasing rebellion from fiscal hardliners in the GOP.
Conservatives contended that the farm bills overspent on subsidies paid to farmers and on food stamp programs. On the other side of the aisle, liberals opposed limits on food stamp programs meant to appease conservatives.
With the farm bill defeated, Boehner is facing new questions from within the GOP as the House prepares for the coming battle over comprehensive immigration reform, which is strongly opposed by many conservative House members.
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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