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Roll Call

The House : Farm Bill Amendment

October 13, 1985

An Administration-backed amendment to reduce federal income support payments to wheat farmers was rejected by the House on a vote of 93 for and 334 against. The wheat "target price" in the new farm bill (HR 2100) is frozen at $4.38 per bushel for the next five years.

It would have diminished under this amendment to $3.57 by the 1990 crop year, lowering farm income but saving the Treasury an estimated $5.5 billion.

Income supports are the "deficiency payments" that the government provides to growers to close the gap between the market price of a crop and the higher target price set by Congress.

Sponsor Barney Frank (D-Mass.) criticized the farm bill as "a massive effort to continue an industrial policy for agriculture which says we will continue to subsidize people to grow, whether we need it or not."

Opponent Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) called the amendment "a death sentence for thousands and thousands of family farmers across the country."

Members voting yes wanted to gradually lower federal income supports for wheat farmers.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Dreier (R) x Rep. Martinez (D) x Rep. Moorhead (R) x Rep. Roybal (D) x Rep. Torres (D) x

Wheat Referendum

By a vote of 251 for and 174 against, the House stripped the farm bill (HR 2100, above) of a section enabling wheat and feed grain producers to vote on whether they want severe production controls accompanied by higher price supports for domestic sales and export subsidies for sales abroad. The referendum proposal was probably the most original and controversial section of HR 2100, which remained in debate.

This vote was a rare victory for the Administration, which has lost most of its attempts to keep the new farm bill from worsening the deficit and enlarging the federal role in U.S. agriculture.

Edward Madigan (R-Ill.), who led the fight to delete the section, said "a farmer who chose not to participate in the program would not be able to sell the commodity that he produced in the United States of America."

Timothy Penny (D-Minn.) said the referendum "gives the farmers a chance to vote for themselves to improve the price for their commodities."

Members voting no favored the new program.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Dreier (R) x Rep. Martinez (D) x Rep. Moorhead (R) x Rep. Roybal (D) x Rep. Torres (D) x

Appropriations Bill

The House passed, 322 for and 107 against, and sent to the Senate a $104.9-billion fiscal 1986 appropriations bill (HR 3424) for the departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services and independent agencies.

The sum is $4.3 billion above the Administration's budget request but $3.4 billion below 1985 outlays for the three departments and 10 federal agencies.

Among its multitude of provisions, the bill earmarks $189.7 million for research into the disease AIDS, and extends until Nov. 14 the deadline by which state and local government must comply with the U.S. Supreme Court's "Garcia" ruling on overtime pay policies.

That decision, which had been scheduled to take effect Oct. 15, requires state and municipal governments to provide employees with extra pay rather than compensatory time off for overtime work.

Members voting yes wanted to pass the appropriations bill.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Dreier (R) x Rep. Martinez (D) x Rep. Moorhead (R) x Rep. Roybal (D) x Rep. Torres (D) x

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