This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) that would have limited federal subsidies provided to farms to $125,000. This amendment was offered to legislation providing annual funding for Agriculture Department programs.
Blumenauer urged support for his amendment, arguing that federal subsidies helped large agribusinesses rather than family farms: “These aren't the small family farmers that I think all of us would like to support. In this day and age, it's embarrassing to be giving away $4 million of taxpayer money in 1 year to a private, for-profit company when I think what we should be doing is concentrating on the support for America's farmers and ranchers. We have the opportunity, with this amendment, to take a step in this direction. I would strongly urge that my colleagues join with me in adopting this amendment establishing a $125,000 overall limit, and be able to start saving two-thirds of $1 billion and send a signal that we're serious about reforming spending.”
Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) opposed Blumenauer’s amendment: “The $125,000 limit is picked out of whole cloth. It is made up. It is arbitrary. It is capricious. It has no clue what it might have as an impact on the farmers and ranchers in the district and parts that I represent. It is a drive-by shooting of farm policy that, frankly, makes no sense whatsoever if you are really going to seriously protect the production of agriculture in this country.”
The House rejected this amendment by a vote of 154-192. Voting “yea” were 114 Democrats—including a majority of progressives—and 40 Republicans. 192 Republicans and 70 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have limited federal subsidies provided to farms to $125,000.