What is in this article?:
• Rather than risk a fight over spending cuts for food stamps, the House passes a disaster aid bill aimed at helping ranchers.
• Democrats complain bill takes money from conservation programs to pay for disaster legislation that should have been reauthorized last year.
• Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman says House simply "kicked the can down the road" on reauthorizing the farm bill.
On Thursday (Aug. 2), the House passed $383 million of disaster aid to help U.S. ranchers hammered by the drought now engulfing much of the country.
The vote for the Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act, H.R. 6233, was 223-197 and came just before Congress recessed for five weeks. Thirty-five Democrats voted in favor of the bill, 46 Republicans voted against it.
The livestock assistance comes after weeks of House leadership refusal to bring the farm bill passed out of the House Agriculture Committee on July 11 to the chamber’s floor.
House Speaker John Boehner and Majority leader Eric Cantor were frightened the House farm bill — disparaged by Republicans as too expensive and by Democrats as cutting nutrition programs ruthlessly — would have led to a withering, politically-damaging debate in the lead-up to November elections.