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Back to the drawing board on farm bill after U.S. House rejects deal

WAAHINGTON D.C. (WTAQ) - The chairman of the House Agriculture Committee says the panel will soon weigh its options, after a new five-year Farm Bill was rejected Thursday.

The Wisconsin delegation voted 5-to-3 against the package, which lost on a House vote of 234-to-195.

Republicans Sean Duffy, Reid Ribble, and Tom Petri were the only Badger State representatives to vote yes.

Many in the GOP majority said a proposed $2 billion cut in the federal food stamp program was not enough.

Democrats said the last straw was when Republicans voted to let states require recipients to work for their food aid.

Some lawmakers – like Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson – say food stamps should be taken out of the Farm Bill, so agriculture programs like federal subsidies could be debated on their own merits.

Lawmakers added food stamps to the Farm Bill a number of years ago to attract votes from urban representatives – but with the hyper-partisanship in today’s politics, that’s gone out the window.

Also, Minnesota’s Collin Peterson – the senior Democrat on the Ag committee – said his party was turned off when a proposed market stabilization program for the dairy industry was scrapped.

Committee chair Frank Lucas of Oklahoma said before the vote that if the Farm Bill didn’t pass, he could not guarantee an alternative package would come back.

A new Farm Bill was due last fall – and when it didn’t pass then, the old package of farm-and-food-stamp programs was extended for another year.