Farm Bill fails House vote

WASHINGTON (CNN, KATV) - The U.S. House has rejected a major farm bill, which got "no" votes from both Democrats and Republicans.

The five-year, $940 billion measure was first brought up last year, but it never made it to the floor. This year, it received a 195-234 vote.

Conservatives said the bill didn't cut enough from the Food Stamp program. The Obama administration said it wouldn't accept the bill because it cut too much from the program and didn't overhaul crop insurance and farm subsidies.

Arkansas' delegation was split on this vote. Reps. Rick Crawford, Tim Griffin and Steve Womack voted for it and Rep. Tom Cotton voted against it.

Reps. Womack, Griffin and Cotton released statements after the vote. You can read them below in their entirety, as well as Rep. Crawford's opening remarks when the bill first came to the House floor for discussion.

    This story has been corrected from its original publication to reflect Rep. Steve Womack's vote as being for the FARRM bill. The article originally said he voted against it.

      "Today's vote was about protecting Arkansas farmers and making meaningful reforms to farm and food programs. The FARRM Act would have done that. The bill would have slashed spending by more than $40 billion and instituted much needed reforms to our nutrition programs. The changes to the food stamp program - alone - would have saved taxpayers more than $20 billion.

      "I remain committed to reducing spending, but our government is divided and our opportunities are limited. It's a shame that we squandered this one."

      --Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR)

      "Afterfour years of debate and more than 40 hearings, including a two-year audit ofevery farm bill program, this bill represented a step forward in reforming thefood stamp program and modernizing federal agricultural policy. A voteagainst this farm bill was a vote for the wasteful status quo--this is a setbackfor reform. I supported this bill because it would have provided acritical safety net for Arkansas farmers and ranchers and $40 billion insavings for U.S. taxpayers. It repealed and consolidated more than 100government programs, provided regulatory relief and repealed direct and countercyclicalpayments, replacing them with new risk-management programs that would haveprotected farmers when they have significant loss - and it would haveguaranteed affordable food for American families."

      --Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR)

      "I grew up on my family's small farm in Yell County and still work on it today. I had hoped this bill would be good for Arkansas farmers and taxpayers, but it turned out badly for both. President Obama's failed policies have turned what should be a Farm Bill into the Food Stamp Bill, expanding by $300 billion a food-stamp program riddled with fraud and abuse. Because 80% of this bill was food stamps and Arkansas farmers expected to receive less than 1% of the bill's whopping $940 billion price tag, it was a bad deal for Arkansas farmers and taxpayers."

      --Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR)

      Mr. Speaker,

      I rise in support of H.R. 1947.

      First I would like to thank Chairman Lucas and Ranking Member Peterson for their outstanding work in crafting the 2013 Farm Bill. I would especially like to thank the farmers and ranchers across rural America for their patience as we worked through this long, difficult process.

      Mr. Speaker, the bill before us today is the product of our extensive outreach to farmers, ranchers, and stakeholders across the entire Country. I believe that the most essential aspect of writing any Farm Bill is the critical input we receive from our rural constituents. The Agriculture Committee made this possible through holding a series of Farm Bill field hearings in nearly every region of the country, allowing producers to contribute to the Farm Bill process by having their voices heard.

      Last year, I had the opportunity to host the Agriculture Committee in my hometown of Jonesboro where all types of producers from Arkansas and the Midsouth region had the chance to testify. They shared with the Committee the challenges they face in the modern agriculture economy, and provided suggestions about how the Farm Bill can be tailored to reflect their unique risks in the marketplace. This feedback was critical in helping us craft policy that meets the needs of producers in Arkansas.

      After hearing from stakeholders across the Country, it was remarkable to hear time and again that ag producers are willing to do their part to reduce the deficit. This willingness allowed the Agriculture Committee to craft a Farm Bill that saves nearly $40 billion. This was no easy task, and the Committee had to make very tough choices. But I believe we were able to fairly balance the needs of our producers with the need to pay down our debt.

      The final product is a bipartisan Farm Bill that saves taxpayers' money, reduces deficit spending, and repeals outdated government programs while reforming, streamlining, and consolidating others. Whether it's through the elimination of Direct Payments, the consolidation of conservation programs, or eliminating abuse in the Food Stamp program, every part of this bill contributes fairly to deficit reduction.

      I proudly support the 2013 Farm Bill, and encourage my Colleagues to do the same.

      With that I yield back.

      --Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR)
      delivered on the House floor on Tuesday, June 20, 2013

      The Senate passed its version of the bill last month.