by Randy Shannon
The House Farm bill was just defeated by 62 Republicans and 133 Democrats. This was a major defeat for the House Republican leadership. It highlights the unpredictability of the far-right Tea Party caucus .
On Monday June 17th Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) held demonstrations across the country at the offices of Democratic Representatives demanding a ‘No’ vote on the Farm Bill. It contained $20 billion cuts in SNAP, aka food stamps.
Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus challenged other Democratic representatives to join them in a one week food stamp diet to dramatize the impact of the proposed cuts.
On Wednesday June 19th PDA members visited over 150 Congressional district offices to demand a ‘No’ vote on the Farm Bill. The swing of a large majority of Democrats against the bill was aided by President Obama’s statement that he would veto a Farm Bill with massive cuts to food assistance. The AFL-CIO also stated its opposition to the cuts.
Members of the PA 12th CD Chapter visited the Beaver office of Representative Rothfus and faxed letters stating our opposition to cuts in food assistance. Representative Rothfus, a Tea Party caucus member, voted against the Farm Bill even though is was sponsored by his own party leadership. Rothfus made no comment on the House floor in the debate over the Farm Bill.
Calls to Rothfus office failed to elicit a statement or comment on this vote. When asked, Rothfus Washington staff stated that the reason for his vote was not “a secret.” Rothfus’ office promised that a “letter explaining his position” will be mailed in the future.
The commentary below was just published in the Washington Post. It analyzes the situation within the Republican Party. The Democrats voted against the bill because the cuts in food stamps were too much; the Tea Party voted against the bill because the cuts were not deep enough.
The 2014 election will go a long way in determining whether people in the US will starve or continue to get food aid while the economic crisis drags on.
The failure of the farm bill — and why House Republicans can’t be led
By Chris Cillizza, Updated: June 20, 2013
The House Republican conference simply cannot be led.
That reality hit home — hard — this afternoon when the House failed to pass a farm bill. The bill failed 234-195 with 62 Republicans voting against it and just 24 Democrats voting for it.
Republican insiders immediately tried to foist the blame on Democrats, insisting that 40 “yea” votes had been promised and the vote count was dependent on those votes being delivered. (Worth noting: The administration made clear in a statement Monday that President Obama would veto the bill if it passed, a declaration that undoubtedly had a chilling effect on Democratic votes in favor of the legislation.)