House rejects Dem efforts to derail abortion, farm bill votes

The House on Tuesday afternoon rejected two Democratic attempts to stop the House from considering a controversial abortion bill, and a $1 trillion farm bill that negotiators agreed to this week.

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) raised two points of order against a rule governing debate for both bills. One point of order argued the bill included unfunded mandates, and another said it included inappropriate earmarks.

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But McGovern's real point was to argue that the bills should not be considered under the same rule, and to argue against the farm bill's proposed $8 billion cut to the federal food stamp program.

"It's "absolutely outrageous" that the Republican leadership has combined a major piece of anti-abortion legislation with the farm bill conference report into one single rule, restricting our ability to debate both of these important issues," he said.

"I know my Republican friends are in a big hurry to go off to their issues retreat at some luxurious resort, but maybe we could've found another hour somewhere," he added. McGovern was referring to the House GOP leadership's plan to adjourn early Wednesday, to let members attend a policy retreat in Maryland.

McGovern was joined by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), who said the farm bill compromise is bad for low-income people who rely on food stamps, but good for wealthy farmers. "It takes food for the poor to pay for crop subsidies for the rich," she said of the bill.

Democrats and some Republicans have noted that the rule up today gives the House just an hour to debate both bills, and have said more time should be taken to consider these issues.

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) spoke on behalf of GOP leaders, and said that while the two bills are combined in the rule, the rule allows each to be debated and voted on separately.

The House turned away both of McGovern's points of order in two voice votes. After the second vote, the House began debate on the rule itself, which will need a second vote — only then will the House be in a position to start debating the abortion bill, which is H.R. 7, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.