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Defeat of Farm Bill Is a Blow to GOP Leaders

It combined strict work requirements for food stamp recipients with a renewal of farm subsidies
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 18, 2018 12:14 PM CDT
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., promotes this year's renewal of the farm bill during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 17, 2018.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – In an embarrassment for House Republican leaders, conservatives on Friday scuttled a bill that combines stricter work and job training requirements for food stamp recipients with a renewal of farm subsidies popular in GOP-leaning farm country, reports the AP. Hard-right conservatives upset over the party's stalled immigration agenda opposed the measure, which failed by a 213-198 vote. Some 30 Republicans joined with every chamber Democrat in opposition. The vote was a blow to GOP leaders, who had hoped to tout its new work requirements for recipients of food stamps. The work initiative polls well with voters, especially those in the GOP political base. Key conservatives in the rebellious House Freedom Caucus opposed the measure, seeking leverage to obtain a vote on a hard-line immigration plan authored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte.

Negotiations with GOP leaders Friday morning failed to bear fruit, however, and the unrelated food and farm measure was defeated. House Speaker Paul Ryan took steps to call for a re-vote in the future, but it's not clear when the measure might be revived. The farm bill, a twice-per-decade rite on Capitol Hill, promises greater job training opportunities for recipients of food stamps, a top priority for House leaders. Democrats are strongly opposed, saying the stricter work and job training rules are poorly designed and would drive 2 million people off of food stamps. Currently, adults 18-59 are required to work part-time to receive food stamps, officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or agree to accept a job if they're offered one.

(Read more farm bill stories.)

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