Monday, March 10, 2014
THOMAS BEAUMONT, Associated Press
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Jones explained his "no" vote this way: "At a time when America is over 16 trillion dollars in debt and running massive deficits, we simply cannot afford this."
Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey, who has represented rural Georgia during his decade in Congress, also voted against it. One of his advisers argued that the measure didn't do enough to benefit farming. But the adviser, Chip Lake, also noted the increased pressure from outside groups, saying, "That activity between the last farm bill and this farm bill has increased exponentially."
For example, the conservative group Heritage Action urged constituents to call lawmakers like Rep. Tom Latham, a 10-term Iowa Republican, to pressure him to oppose the measure. Latham, as a result, received calls from constituents angry about the bill's food-stamp spending. Latham aides said the calls frustrated the congressman. He had argued that, without the cuts, food-stamp spending would be unchecked.
If no bill passes, Congress would likely adopt a short-term resolution to continue spending at current levels.
Democrats, meanwhile, were fearful of backlash from liberals who warned them against voting in favor of deep food-stamp cuts.
"They are worried they will be challenged in a primary if they don't fight tooth and nail on food stamps," said Rep. Colin Peterson, a Minnesota Democrat and former Agriculture Committee chairman.
Since the vote, leading Republicans have said the days of binding food-stamps with agriculture programs should end.
"We should treat the food stamp program on its own, as its separate program," said Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the budget committee chairman, who opposed the bill.
Should that happen, Republicans and Democrats alike say the outcome also bodes poorly for the future of passing farm and food-stamp measures — and appeasing each side's core supporters.
Associated Press writer Charles Babington in Washington contributed to this report.