Politics

Freedom Caucus Puts Republican Farm Bill In A Dust Bowl

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The long-awaited farm policy bill failed in the House on Friday as members of the conservative Freedom Caucus voted against the GOP-led legislation.

In a major embarrassment to GOP leadership, the bill failed in a 198-213 vote, when conservative members voted with Democrats, who unanimously opposed the legislation.

President Donald Trump voiced support for the measure Thursday night, praising the legislation’s increased work requirements for recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps.

“Tomorrow, the House will vote on a strong Farm Bill, which includes work requirements. We must support our Nation’s great farmers!” Trump tweeted.

Democrats opposed the bill mainly over the added SNAP rules, which House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called “cruel.”

But the more conservative organizations in Washington, D.C., refused to back the measure, with Heritage Action and Freedom Partners saying the work requirements didn’t go far enough to help welfare recipients get out of poverty. (RELATED: GOP Farm Bill Would Only Kick About 2 Million People Off Food Stamps)

“Our bill goes shoulder-to-shoulder with recipients to help get them the training and education they need to attain a job that can provide for them and their families,” Texas Republican Rep. Mike Conaway, chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, said during debate.

The GOP’s bill also would not have shrunk farm subsidies, a common complaint among free market conservatives who oppose government welfare to corporations.

After meeting with leadership Thursday, North Carolina Republican and Freedom Caucus chair Rep. Mark Meadows told reporters that “at this point, there is no deal to be made.”

The current farm bill will expire Sept. 30, leaving the House a little time to pass a bill for the Senate to consider.

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