This vote was on an amendment that would increase funding available for economic development projects in rural areas.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) offered the amendment during consideration of a bill that authorizes federal programs that assist farmers and low-income Americans. Sen. Brown’s amendment would increase funding for four separate programs that help farm-related and rural businesses access financial capital, help rural communities update water and wastewater infrastructure, and provide education and other assistance to young farmers and ranchers.
Supporters of Sen. Brown’s amendment argued that it would spur economic growth in rural America.
“Strong rural communities and a thriving rural economy demand investment in business development and basic infrastructure. My amendment is about job creation, economic development, and the future of rural America,” Sen. Brown said.
Opponents of Sen. Brown’s amendment argued that the programs represented an expense the country could not afford. The amendment would weaken the Senate’s efforts to cut spending in the farm bill, they said.
“This amendment would take savings achieved in the bill from $23.4 (billion) … down to $23.2 (billion) and redirect $150 million mandatory spending into a few rural development programs,” Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) said. “Nothing against them, but if we are going to achieve savings in this bill, we have to hold the line.”
Sen. Brown’s amendment was approved by a vote of 55-44. Voting “yea” were 52 Democrats and 3 Republicans. Voting “nay” were 43 Republicans and 1 Democrat. As a result, the Senate moved forward with legislation that would provide funding for economic development projects in rural areas.