The House of Representatives rejected with a 234-195 vote Thursday afternoon a $940 billion farm bill that would have cut more than $20 billion from the food stamps program. Washington bureau reporter Michael Scotto filed the following report for NY1.
Just moments after the vote, the finger pointing began.
"What we saw today was a Democratic leadership that was insistent to undo years and years of bipartisan work on an issue like a Farm Bill and decide to make it a partisan issue," said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
"It's silly. It's sad. It's juvenile. It's unprofessional. It's amateur hour," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Efforts to pass a five-year, $940 billion Farm Bill collapsed Thursday after House leaders failed to get enough lawmakers from both parties to support it.
Democrats said the bill cut too much, while some Republicans said the cuts didn't go far enough.
For Democrats, the main objection was a proposed $21 billion cut to food stamps, which they claimed was made much worse by a last-minute amendment that would have allowed states to impose additional work requirements on recipients. That amendment resulted in the defection of some Democrats who had originally planned to support the bill.
"It is not designed to be a reform. It is designed to kill this bill, and it succeeded in that purpose today" said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York.
One Democrat, who had problems with the legislation beforehand ended up voting for it, hopeful that a better agreement could be reached during negotiations with the Senate.
"If I decide to vote for it, it's going to be because I want to get it to conference and hope we get a better bill back," said New York Rep. Bill Owens.
Now, that won't happen. For the House, it's a big embarrassment. This is the second time in two years that the lower chamber has failed to move a Farm Bill. The Senate, on the other hand, passed a bill last year and again earlier this spring.
The inaction led to an extension that expires this year.