Farm bill blocked by House in embarrassing loss for Republicans

Paul Ryan exiting the House chamber on 18 May.

In an embarrassment for House Republican leaders, conservatives on Friday scuttled a bill that combined stricter work and job training requirements for food stamp recipients with a renewal of farm subsidies popular in GOP-leaning states.

Hard-right conservatives upset over the party’s stalled immigration agenda opposed the measure, which failed by a 213-198 vote with every Democrat in opposition.

The vote was a blow to Republican leaders. The work for the food stamps initiative polls well with voters, especially those in the Republican base.

Conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus opposed the measure, seeking leverage to obtain a vote on a hardline immigration plan authored by the judiciary committee chairman, Robert Goodlatte. Negotiations with party leaders failed to bear fruit and the food and farm measure was defeated.

The House speaker, Paul Ryan, took steps to call for a revote in the future but it was not clear when the measure might be revived. The bill, a twice-a-decade rite on Capitol Hill, promises greater job training opportunities for recipients of food stamps. Democrats are strongly opposed to it, saying it would drive 2 million people off food stamps.

Currently, adults aged 18 to 59 are required to work part-time to receive food stamps, officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Snap), or…

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