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Earlier this week, I spoke too soon about the Farm Bill, writing a diary criticizing five Democrats for voting for the final bill, $20 billion in cuts to food stamps at all.  I mistook a procedural vote for a final vote of passage; however, their votes were still misguided.

The Farm Bill has since progressed in the House, and they began voting on amendments last night.  As my title suggests, I'd like to highlight, in particular, the vote to restore SNAP spending.  However, I'd also like to highlight several other important votes as well.

Republicans, more out of cruelty than "fiscal responsibility," have pushed for $20.5 billion in cuts to food stamps as a part of the farm bill.  As is the case with the myth of voting fraud, they have created and convinced themselves of a myth of widespread fraud in the program, a remnant of the "welfare queen" rhetoric from Saint Reagan. The rate of fraud in SNAP is just 1%, significantly smaller than that which exists in the Republican-approved farm subsidies.   Others deny the existence of food insecurity or crassly argue that denying children food would "built their character."

Jim McGovern (MA-02) put forth an amendment to restore the $20.5 billion in SNAP funding by making an equivalent cut to farm subsidies (Farm Risk Management Election Program and the Supplemental Coverage Option).  The SNAP cuts in the current bill are so steep that 2 million people would lose benefits. Over 70 House Democrats signed on as co-sponsors to this amendment, according to the summary list posted online.  The House voted it down 188 to 234 nearly on the party line. 183 Democrats and 5 Republicans voted in favor. 226 Republicans and 8 Democrats voted against.

Which five Republicans commendably broke with the party line to support assistance to struggling families?

Michael Grimm (NY-11), who represents State Island and parts of Brooklyn
David Joyce (OH-14), who represents northeastern Ohio
Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02), who represents  all of Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and Salem Counties and parts of Camden, Gloucester and Burlington Counties
Chris Smith (NJ-04), who represents the area around Trenton
Don Young (AK), who represents the entire state of Alaska

Now, let's name and shame the 8 Democrats that voted against restoring food stamps:

John Barrow (GA-12)
Sanford Bishop (GA-02)
Cheri Bustos (IL-17)
Sean Maloney (NY-18)
Mike McIntyre (NC-07)
Bill Owens (NY-21)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Tim Walz (MN-01)

The House also passed an amendment by Republican Richard Hudson (NC-08) that give states the authority to conduct drug testing on people applying for food stamps.  Unfortunately, this was passed by voice vote alone because no Democrat asked for a recorded vote, so we can't name and shame any Democratic collaborationists.  Last time I checked, no one was pushing for us to drug test members of Congress to make sure they are making sound decisions while on the House floor (which so many seem to be unable to do).  But I digress.

Environmental Votes

The SNAP votes are matters of social justice; however, I'd also like to highlight some key environmental votes.

Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) put forth two environmentally-minded amendments. The first would reform the Conservation Reserve Program:

to require that twenty percent of the acreage enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program be set aside for the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program and the Continuous Conservation Reserve Program, which allows states to target high priority and environmentally sensitive land, and to continuously re-enroll that land in CRP
The House rejected this amendment 179 to 242.  170 Democrats and 9 Republicans voted in favor. 222 Republicans and 20 Democrats voted against.

Which 9 Republicans honorably broke the party line?

Charlie Dent (PA-15)
Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08)
Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01)
Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11)
Jim Gerlach (PA-06)
Andy Harris (MD-01)
Leonard Lance (NJ-07)
Tom Petri (WI-06)
Tom Rooney (FL-17)

And now to name and shame the 20 Democrats that voted against it.

John Barrow (GA-12)
Sanford Bishop (GA-02)
Cheri Bustos (IL-17)
Jim Costa (CA-16)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Bill Enyart (IL-12)
Bill Foster (IL-11)
Pete Gallego (TX-23)
Al Green (TX-09)
Gene Green (TX-29)
Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15)
Robin Kelly (IL-02)
Sean Maloney (NY-18)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Nick Rahall (WV-03)
David Scott (GA-13)
Dina Titus (NV-01)
Filemon Vela (TX-34)
Nydia Velazquez (NY-07)
Tim Walz (MN-01)

I frankly don't understand Kelly and Velazquez's opposition to this amendment.

Blumenauer's second amendment would have reformed the Environmental Quality Incentives Program to increase access for farmers, and eliminate payments to
projects that do not show strong conservation benefits.  Food Democracy Now describes this as a "a No Cost reform of EQIP to eliminate subsidies to factory farms." The House rejected it 157 to 266.

Four Republicans supported the bill:
Sam Graves (MO-06)
Michael Grimm (NY-11)
Chris Smith (NJ-04)
Lamar Smith (TX-21)

And these 39 Democrats opposed it.  The divide in the Democratic party, to a large degree, reflects an urban-rural divide.

Ron Barber (AZ-02)
John Barrow (GA-12)
Sanford Bishop (GA-02)
Timothy Bishop (NY-01)
Bruce Braley (IA-01)

Cheri Bustos (IL-17)
G. K. Butterfield (NC-01)
Jim Costa (CA-16)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Bill Enyart (IL-12)

Bill Foster (IL-11)
Joe Garcia (FL-26)
Gene Green (TX-29)
Brian Higgins (NY-26)
Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15)

Steven Horsford (NV-04)
Steny Hoyer (MD-05)
Dave Loebsack (IL-02)
Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01)
Dan Maffei (NY-24)

Sean Maloney (NY-18)
Jim Matheson (UT-02)
Mike McIntyre (NC-07)
Jerry McNerney (CA-09)
Patrick Murphy (FL-18)

Bill Owens (NY-21)
Ed Pastor (AZ-07)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
David Price (NC-04)
Nick Rahall (WV-03)

Cedric Richmond (LA-02)
Raul Ruiz (CA-36)
Kurt Schrader (OR-05)
Terri Sewell (AL-07)
Paul Tonko (NY-20)

Juan Vargas (CA-51)
Marc Veasey (TX-33)
Tim Walz (MN-01)
Pete Welch (VT)

Keith Ellison's amendment to direct the Secretary of Agriculture to complete a study on the climate impacts of the Price Loss Coverage program failed by voice vote, and he did not ask for a recorded vote.

Marcy Kaptur's amendment to improve federal coordination in addressing the documented decline of managed and native pollinators and promotes the long-term viability of honey bee, wild bees, and other beneficial insects in agriculture passed with bipartisan support on a vote of 273 - 149.  It had the support of all 192 Democrats in attendance and 81 Republicans.

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