This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) that would have eliminated federal subsidies for farmers earning more than $250,000 per year. This amendment was offered to legislation providing annual funding for Agriculture Department programs.
Flake urged support for his amendment: “This amendment would lower that income limit to be eligible to receive farm payments from $1.25 million to $250,000 in adjusted gross income. I think a farmer has done well if they clear $250,000. I think it's wonderful if they do that. They should try to take a day off from their hard work if they do. But don't come back to the federal government and say, we need more farm subsidy payments. Let's have some sanity in this program here.”
Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA) opposed Flake’s amendment: “I couldn't agree more with the gentleman from Arizona when he says that we've got to put everything on the table in order to eliminate this deficit and to put us on a path toward balancing our budget. We've got a fiscal crisis. But at the same time, we need to make smart choices. We need to establish priorities. We don't need to cut off our feet or cut off our hands. We need to empower ourselves and have the tools that we need. And I think that if we're going to have a strong agricultural community, if we're going to have American farmers be able to produce high quality, safe, economical food for the people of this country and for export, and to be able to compete in the global marketplace, we are going to have to have reasonable and smart farm support.”
The House rejected Flake’s amendment by a vote of 186-228. Voting “yea” were 102 Democrats—including a majority of progressives--and 84 Republicans. 152 Republicans and 76 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have eliminated federal subsidies for farmers earning more than $250,000 per year.