Although it’s nearly impossible to find an issue where Republicans and Democrats largely agree, the Goodlatte-Scott amendment proved that Members of Congress from both parties can work together to help dairy farmers without hurting families. The 291-135 victory margin sends a strong message that the Farm Bill stands a better chance of being approved by Congress if it does not include policies that are designed to limit milk supplies, keeping milk prices artificially high.
The proof is in the numbers.
The amendment was supported by an overwhelming majority of Republicans, with 196 in favor and only 35 opposed. Speaker of the House John Boehner (OH) not only supported the amendment but sent a letter to his colleagues urging their support as well. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (VA) supported the amendment as did Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (WI). Even one of the opponents of the amendment in the Agriculture Committee vote, Mike Conaway (TX), voted for Goodlatte-Scott on the floor.
Nearly as remarkable, the amendment fell just short of being supported by a majority of Democrats, with 95 in favor and 100 opposed. Although the Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) backed their Ranking Member on the Agriculture Committee, the amendment was supported by the Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra (CA) and other notable Democrats including Representatives John Dingell (MI), Jim Clyburn (SC), Ron Kind (WI) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL).
Visit C-SPAN to watch the video of the 27-minute House floor debate.
IDFA was particularly pleased with the support that the Goodlatte-Scott amendment received from key dairy states. The majority of the California delegation, including 15 Democrats, voted in favor of the amendment as did nearly the entire delegations from Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Texas’s Representatives voted strongly in favor of the amendment, and supporters of the amendment carried Michigan by a vote of 9-5, including three of five Democrats.
Opponents of the amendment did find majority support in Idaho, New Mexico and Washington. New York’s delegation narrowly opposed the amendment by a vote of 13-12, with all six Republicans voting in favor, while Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) was able to carry his state by a vote of 5-3.
“Given the strong bipartisan support for the amendment, it defies logic to claim that it was one of the reasons why the Farm Bill failed,” said Jerry Slominski, IDFA senior vice president of legislative affairs and economic policy. “By authorizing an effective and expanded safety net for dairy farmers, without limiting milk supplies to increase prices, the amendment clearly improves the bill and found the middle ground that Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and progressives could support.”
For more information, contact Slominski at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ruth Saunders, IDFA vice president of legislative policy, at email@example.com.