After running for office on the promise of changing Washington, Congressman Steve Southerland made it clear to his constituents that he is now part of the problem in DC. Congressman Southerland’s “poison pill” amendment that punitively targeted food step recipients is being blamed by both sides of the isle for dooming the Farm Bill’s prospects.
“Congressman Southerland’s insistence on putting ideology ahead of common sense has resulted in a major loss for Florida’s farmers,” said Florida Democratic Party spokesman Max Steele. “With his amendment, Congressman Southerland told Floridians that DC politics comes before the needs of his constituents. The voters of North Florida will not forget that when push came to shove, Southerland sided with Washington, not Florida.”
Time: Southerland’s Amendment a “Partisan Poison Pill” to the Farm Bill. “At 1:22 p.m., the Southerland amendment was approved in a near-part-line vote, 227 to 198. Only one Democrat went for the amendment, and only six Republicans went against. It was a partisan poison pill, the last amendment of the day. And it was enough to kill the measure.” [Time, 6/21/13]
Republican Congressman: Southerland Amendment Cost Key Support for Farm Bill. “Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), a conservative charged with whipping GOP voted for the bill, was surprised by the number of GOP defections […] King blamed key vote alerts from Heritage Action and Club for Growth for hurting the bill and acknowledged that the Boehner-backed dairy amendment and Southerland food stamp work requirement cost key Democratic support.” [The Hill, 6/20/13]
Sunshine State News: House Republicans Blame Southerland For Losing Farm Bill. “Some disappointed House Republicans are blaming Florida colleague Steve Southerland for losing 195-234, a five-year farm bill leadership badly wanted.” [Sunshine State News, 6/20/13]
Politico: Defeat of Farm Bill Propelled by Southerland Amendment. “For decades, the farm bill has been a beacon of bipartisanship in an increasingly rough-and-tumble chamber. The defeat of Thursday’s version was propelled by the adoption of Florida GOP Rep. Steve Southerland’s amendment to institute work requirements for recipients of food stamps.” [Politico, 6/20/13]
National Journal: Fault Lay with Adoption of Southerland Amendment. “Blame was being cast mostly on the bill’s huge cut to the food stamp program, exacerbated by a late Republican amendment that some Democrats- who may otherwise still have voted for the wider bill- felt was too punitive in forcing work requirements for food-stamp recipients […] Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., the ranking member of the Agriculture Committee, was among those who suggested that fault lies with the GOP leadership’s decision to allow passage of the late amendment from Rep. Steve Southerland.” [National Journal, 6/20/13]
The Hill: Southerland Amendment Accused of Being “The Straw” That Broke Support for the Farm Bill. Peterson said he’d warned GOP leaders not to offer the Southerland amendment- particularly so close to the final vote- for fear it would sink the whole package. Peterson said a handful of Democrats dropped their support after Boehner’s dairy amendment passed, but that the Southerland amendment was ‘the straw’ that broke the back of Democratic support.” [The Hill, 6/20/13]