Urban-rural alliance breaks down on farm bill vote

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The recent defeat of the House farm bill highlights how Congress' country-city political marriage is becoming another victim of partisan politics in polarizing times. And the divorce throws into doubt the future of sweeping agriculture and nutrition spending.

Newly emboldened conservative groups pressured Republican House members from rural states last month with radio ads and email blitzes to oppose the five-year, $940 billion bill. They call its proposed cuts to food stamps too little.

Democrats in urban districts that are home to food-stamp recipients refused to make cuts they call too deep. Each party was fearful of angering their core supporters - the height of partisanship over a measure that long had been immune.

Pennsylvania Democratic congresswoman Allyson Schwartz says the lack of cooperation wouldn't have happened in past years.

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