"The 204-195 vote underscores the deep divide in the House over Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s strategy this past summer of stripping out and then rewriting the nutrition title of the five-year Farm Bill," Rogers writes. "Indeed, Saturday’s margin would have been smaller still but for the fact that the GOP leadership peeled back several Republicans who had initially supported the motion. As it was nine Republicans voted with the Democrats. At one stage in the electronic vote, the number was 12."
Rogers notes that while the House farm bill includes a food stamp authorization, it would expire in three years while the rest of the bill would expire in five. "By breaking up the old alliance, critics of the food stamp program hope to gain leverage in the future. The Democratic motion sought to instruct conferees to move toward the Senate and keep the two sets of issues linked." (Read more)
Meanwhile, the House appointed its members to the House-Senate conference committee, including Republican Rep. Steve Southerland of Florida, whose work-requirement amendment kept the bill from passing and prompted the separation of its agriculture and nutrition titles. "Democrats countered the Southerland appointment by placing Congressional Black Caucus head and food stamp advocate Rep. Marsha Fudge (D-Ohio) on the panel," Pete Kasperowicz and Erik Wasson of The Hill report.