The House has rejected a five year, half-trillion-dollar farm bill that would have cut $2 billion annually from food stamps and let states impose broad new work requirements on those who receive them.
The vote was 234-195 against the bill. Sixty-two Republicans voted no, while 24 Democrats voted in favor of the bill.
Members of both parties had signaled opposition to the food stamp cuts in the bill.
Many Republicans say the cuts are not enough; the food stamp program has doubled in cost over the last five years to almost $80 billion a year and now helps to feed 1 in 7 Americans.
Liberals oppose any reductions in food stamps, contending that the House plan could remove as many as 2 million needy recipients from the rolls.