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U.S. House rejects farm bill; next move for farm policy up in air

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The U.S. House defeated the farm bill Thursday, with only two dozen Democrats voting for a measure that Minnesota's Collin Peterson helped put together.

As USA Today reports, cuts to the food stamp program were a point of contention in the half-trillion dollar bill. Many Democrats thought the cuts contained in the bill were too steep, while some Republicans argued they did not go far enough.

But Peterson, the top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, had a couple other possible explanations. He tells the Associated Press the scuttling of a planned overhaul of federal dairy policy cost the bill some support. "I had a bunch of people come up to me and say I was with you but this is it, I'm done," Peterson told the AP.

Forum News Service reports Peterson also put blame on partisan Republican amendments.

Republican leaders expressed hope of reworking the bill and bringing it back to the floor for another vote next week. Forum News says Peterson indicated that he'll keep working on a bill but added “I have a hard time seeing where we go from here.”

Peterson spent years crafting a farm bill with his Republican counterpart on the ag committee, Frank Lucas of Oklahoma. He was disappointed when the GOP leadership of the House refused to bring the package up for a vote last year. Existing farm policy was instead renewed through September 30th.

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