“We were shocked. We were watching the vote on TV and in the final minutes were saying ‘what are they doing? This thing isn’t going to pass!' ” said one commodity group lobbyist.
“I’m shocked,” said another lobbyist. “Our job as agriculture is to go to the House and say Mr. Speaker what is your plan for getting this done?”
The intense blame game that broke out immediately after the bill was rejected in a 195-234 vote will only make it harder to get a bill over the hump, supporters of the measure said. [...]
The House bill was heavily backed by commodity groups, from rice and peanut producers in the South to corn, wheat and soy growers in the Midwest to the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union.
It won only 24 votes from Democrats after the party balked over the inclusion of $20.5 billion in cuts to food stamp programs.
One lobbyist noted the bill appeared to lose support after an amendment requiring food stamp recipients to be working or looking for work — sponsored by Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) — was added to the bill. The solution, the lobbyist said, is to move the bill to the left.
“The Southerland amendment was a bridge too far for the Democrats,” the lobbyist said.