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Farm Bill Defeat Bodes Ill for Debt Vote, Legislator Says

July 9, 2013
p13 Farm Bill Uncertain

The U.S. House’s inability to pass a farm subsidy and food stamps bill last month isn’t a good sign for must-pass legislation to raise the federal debt limit or extend government spending past Sept. 30, Rep. Henry Waxman said.

Republicans who control the House can’t pass those bills without Democratic support, Waxman, the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, said in an interview today with Bloomberg Government in Washington.

"That means we’ve got to have compromise, and a lot of Republicans think compromise is a dirty word," said Waxman of California.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio lost support from more than one-fourth of his Republican caucus when the chamber defeated the $939 billion agriculture-policy bill on June 20. Sixty-two Republicans joined Democrats in the 195-234 defeat of the measure.

Divisions between the House and the Democratic-led Senate mean Congress is on pace to break last year’s record for the fewest number of bills enacted since just after World War II, when modern record-keeping began.

While the Senate passed its own version of a farm bill and a comprehensive immigration measure, the House rejected a farm bill and hasn’t begun considering immigration legislation. Many measures House leaders have brought to the floor, including one to repeal the 2010 health-care law, have little or no chance of advancing in the Senate.

"I just don’t understand why people want to be chairs of committees and subcommittees as a majority to do nothing," said Waxman.

The House farm bill is H.R. 1947. The Senate version is S. 954.


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RELATED TOPICS: Policy, 2013 Farm Bill

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