BOSTON — The U.S. House of Representatives has rejected an amendment to the farm bill that would have made commercial fishermen eligible for the Department of Agriculture’s emergency disaster loan program.
The amendment introduced by Massachusetts Rep. John Tierney was defeated 215 to 211 on Thursday. It would have allowed fishermen to apply for the loan program, just as farmers or ranchers do.
Tierney said 23 Republicans backed the amendment, but it was defeated because many Republicans are unwilling to roll back automatic spending now cuts being implemented in various programs.
The Northeast fisheries were declared a disaster last year, but no aid has followed.
Tierney noted an amendment similar to his was included in the Senate version of the bill. He said he hopes the close House vote helps it survive final negotiations on the bill.