Dispute over immigration dooms farm bill in House

A group of conservatives belonging to the Freedom Caucus helped defeat a massive farm bill because the leadership failed to offer concrete assurances that a hard line immigration bill would be brought to the floor later this year.

In the end, the conservatives simply didn't trust the establishment.

The Hill:

Leadership made an offer to the Freedom Caucus that they could pick any date they wanted in June for a floor vote on a hard-line immigration bill crafted by Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), according to a source familiar with the discussion.

In the end it, it wasn’t enough. Meadows said his members needed more of a commitment from leadership on the Goodlatte bill.
 
“It was not fully clear,” Meadows said of the offer from leadership.

Leadership expressed disappointment after the vote, as did President Trump.

"President Donald J. Trump is disappointed in the result of today’s vote in the House of Representatives on the Farm bill, and hopes the House can resolve any remaining issues in order to achieve strong work requirements and support our Nation’s agricultural community," said White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters.

The White House vowed to "continue to work with Congress to pass a farm bill on time."

"Look, the farm bill got sidetracked by the immigration debate, just like America is getting sidetracked for the immigration debate," said McHenry, who took a shot at the Republicans who voted against the bill.

"We had enough members that were willing to vote for the farm bill, that liked the farm bill, but a small group that wanted to extract some direct pledge on immigration that we could not simply fulfill under their time frame," he said.

"Which is really a great disappointment that they would vote against a policy that they profess to support in order to get something immediate that was not in our legislative capacity."

A total of 30 Republicans voted against the bill. The GOP dissenters were largely a mix of Freedom Caucus members and moderates.

"This is all the more disappointing because we offered the vote these members were looking for, but they still chose to take the bill down," said Doug Andres, a spokesman for Ryan.

Ryan fears that bringing any immigration bill to the floor before the mid terms would be a political mistake. In addition to the conservative bill, the moderates want to have an up or down vote on DACA. Ryan can't very well bring one faction's immigration bill to the floor without bringing the other.

Meanwhile, Democrats are sitting back and watching Republicans tie themselves in knots over immigration. They are content to let the GOP self destruct over the issue, which is why immigration must be separated from the farm bill somehow. The legislation would be a welcome shot in the arm to farm state Republicans and hardline conservatives who view the stricter work requirement for the SNAP program as a way to energize the base.

But nothing can be done unless the immigration issue can be resolved. White House leadership on this issue would be more than welcome, although the political thicket that the president would find himself in might keep him at arm's length.

A group of conservatives belonging to the Freedom Caucus helped defeat a massive farm bill because the leadership failed to offer concrete assurances that a hard line immigration bill would be brought to the floor later this year.

In the end, the conservatives simply didn't trust the establishment.

The Hill:

Leadership made an offer to the Freedom Caucus that they could pick any date they wanted in June for a floor vote on a hard-line immigration bill crafted by Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), according to a source familiar with the discussion.

In the end it, it wasn’t enough. Meadows said his members needed more of a commitment from leadership on the Goodlatte bill.
 
“It was not fully clear,” Meadows said of the offer from leadership.

Leadership expressed disappointment after the vote, as did President Trump.

"President Donald J. Trump is disappointed in the result of today’s vote in the House of Representatives on the Farm bill, and hopes the House can resolve any remaining issues in order to achieve strong work requirements and support our Nation’s agricultural community," said White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters.

The White House vowed to "continue to work with Congress to pass a farm bill on time."

"Look, the farm bill got sidetracked by the immigration debate, just like America is getting sidetracked for the immigration debate," said McHenry, who took a shot at the Republicans who voted against the bill.

"We had enough members that were willing to vote for the farm bill, that liked the farm bill, but a small group that wanted to extract some direct pledge on immigration that we could not simply fulfill under their time frame," he said.

"Which is really a great disappointment that they would vote against a policy that they profess to support in order to get something immediate that was not in our legislative capacity."

A total of 30 Republicans voted against the bill. The GOP dissenters were largely a mix of Freedom Caucus members and moderates.

"This is all the more disappointing because we offered the vote these members were looking for, but they still chose to take the bill down," said Doug Andres, a spokesman for Ryan.

Ryan fears that bringing any immigration bill to the floor before the mid terms would be a political mistake. In addition to the conservative bill, the moderates want to have an up or down vote on DACA. Ryan can't very well bring one faction's immigration bill to the floor without bringing the other.

Meanwhile, Democrats are sitting back and watching Republicans tie themselves in knots over immigration. They are content to let the GOP self destruct over the issue, which is why immigration must be separated from the farm bill somehow. The legislation would be a welcome shot in the arm to farm state Republicans and hardline conservatives who view the stricter work requirement for the SNAP program as a way to energize the base.

But nothing can be done unless the immigration issue can be resolved. White House leadership on this issue would be more than welcome, although the political thicket that the president would find himself in might keep him at arm's length.