Our Republican-controlled Congress is near passage of a farm bill that does not include the controversial riders or poison pills that Speaker Paul Ryan wanted to pass, but you wouldn't know that if you listen to Ryan.
The farm bill was held up for months because of Ryan's work requirements for the Supplement Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). Passing the new requirements in the House was not a problem, but Republicans could not so easily pass them in the Senate where Democrats have the power to filibuster legislation.
So, in an effort to pass their farm bill before the current session of Congress ends, the Republican conference committee removed the requirements from the final bill.
Now, although the requirements were removed, Ryan insists they're still in there.
“This bill strengthens work requirements and boosts work supports so that more people are spurred toward opportunities,” Ryan said during a weekly Republican leadership press conference on Tuesday, pointing to the fact that the nation has millions of open jobs and not enough workers to fill them. [...]
Asked about Ryan's repeated claim about work requirements, a spokesperson for Ryan touted a particular provision in the final deal that reins in exemptions states can seek from SNAP work requirements.
"The farm bill tightens those existing exemptions and deploys a number of policies to ensure the existing requirements are being enforced," the spokesperson said.
The final bill would slightly tweak how exemptions work, but the change is so minimal it doesn't register as saving any money, according to the CBO.
A change so minimal it doesn't even register.
I can only imagine congressional Republicans received this statement from Ryan with an appropriate shit-eating grin.
Some members of the Republican caucus, particularly the Flying Monkey Caucus, were not pleased by the decision to remove work requirements from the final bill. They know there are no new requirements even if Ryan publicly says there are. In fact, as I write this, the House just voted to advance the version of their farm bill that does not include Ryan's work requirements.
After lying to the rest of the world for nearly a decade, it's fitting that Ryan should leave office after lying to his own party.