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June 21, 2013

Farm bill fails in Capitol Hill vote

Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, spoke about the need for both sides to compromise shortly after the House rejected a five-year, half-trillion-dollar farm bill Thursday that would have cut $2 billion annually from food stamps and let states impose broad new work requirements on those who receive them.

“There are issues on the left and the right that we are going to have to accommodate,” Gibson, who voted for the legislation, said in a telephone news conference. “Rural America needs this bill, so we have to strike a balance between the concerns on both sides.”

The food stamp cuts weren’t deep enough for many Republicans who objected to the cost of the nearly $80 billion-a-year food stamp program, which has doubled in the past five years. The vote was 234-195 against the bill, with 62 Republicans voting against it.

The Senate overwhelmingly passed its version of the farm bill last week, with about $2.4 billion a year in overall cuts and a $400 million annual decrease in food stamps — one-fifth of the House bill’s food stamp cuts. The White House was supportive of the Senate version but had issued a veto threat of the House bill.

If the two chambers cannot come together on a bill, farm-state lawmakers could push for an extension of the 2008 farm bill that expires in September or negotiate a new bill with the Senate and try again.

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