WASHINGTON - House lawmakers passed a huge agriculture bill Wednesday morning, after political gridlock on key measures like food stamps spending stalled proceedings for two years.
The House and Senate negotiated a deal on the five-year, $956 billion legislation earlier this week, and lawmakers passed the bill 251-166. The Senate is expected to take up the Agricultural Act as soon as this week, and the measure is expected to pass the chamber, despite the fact that more than 100 House Democrats voted against it, as did dozens of Republicans. The White House has indicated it would sign the legislation if it gets through both chambers.
"The Agricultural Act contributes major savings to deficit reduction, significant reforms to policy, and yet still provides a safety net not only for the production of American food and fiber, but also to ensure our fellow citizens have enough food to eat," said Rep. Frank Lucas, chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, in a statement Wednesday. "I am hopeful this legislation will enjoy the same success when the Senate considers it, and I encourage the president to sign it quickly into law."