Members of the House Agriculture Committee voted late Wednesday to advance a farm bill that would cut projected spending for farm programs and nutrition cuts by a projected $39.7 billion over 10 years.
The bill was supported by a vote of 36-10 to bring the bill to the floor. Opposition broke down to eight Democrats and two Republicans.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., expressed confidence in the bill, given bi-partisan support coming out of the committee. He said he expects the legislation would see a floor debate in June.
"I like to think we have well-balanced bill and that we can draw from all sides," Lucas said to reporters shortly after the committee meeting ended. "The extremes will never support us, but I think we have enough of a coalition."
Lucas also praised his "wingman," committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn. The bill got 13 votes from Democrats despite $20.5 billion in cuts to nutrition programs. Peterson said a majority of Democrats voting to move the bill out of committee should carry some weight with his fellow party members to garner support on the floor.
Part of the ability to pass the bill may come down to the rules for debating it on the floor. Peterson said the bill needs a rule that would manage the number of amendments that would be brought and debated on the floor. "Otherwise it would just be chaos and you would have 600 amendments to deal with," Peterson said. He added, "There has to be some limitations."
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