UPDATE 2:03 PM: The House rejected the 2013 farm bill in a vote largely split along party lines, 195-234.
A last-ditch effort to restore $20.5 billion in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) funding to the House farm bill failed on Wednesday night. An amendment proposed by Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern to prevent the cuts was defeated by a party line floor vote of 234-188.
The Senate farm bill, which has already passed, cuts only $4.1 billion out of SNAP, more commonly known as the food stamps program. If the final version of the House bill passes, opponents of the cuts hope they'll be able to curtail the damage in conference.
"If it does go to conference, hopefully we sent a very strong signal that House Democrats are united against outrageous SNAP cuts," said McGovern spokesperson Michael Mershon. He confirmed that McGovern would not vote for final passage of the bill, but did not say whether the congressman would be willing to vote for a law with cuts closer to those in the Senate bill.
The $20.5 billion in cuts within the House bill amount to roughly $2 billion per year. If those cuts went through, nearly two million people could lose food stamp eligibility, and some 210,000 children could lose eligibility for free school meals.