House Republicans were unable to pass their own farm bill along party lines this morning because far too many Republicans including a significant portion of the
Batshit Freedom Caucus voted against it.
Among other things, the GOP's farm bill would cut the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) and impose work requirements on top of that.
The bill would require a greater number of adults receiving SNAP benefits to work at least 20 hours per week or enroll in training. The stricter requirement would therefore reduce food stamp enrollment ― which has already been on a steady decline ― by an additional 1.2 million over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Echoing businesses in their districts, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and other Republicans said denying benefits to some adults would make it easier for companies to hire ― which is another way of saying the bill would help keep wages down.
Now, why would the Flying Monkey Caucus vote against this? It's everything they want, isn't it?
This is where we get into what a giant clusterfuck the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is.
The Batshit Caucus voted against the farm bill because Speaker Paul Ryan will not bring an immigration reform bill up for a vote, but the immigration reform bill they want to see is not something House Democrats or even average Americans would support. The Batshit Caucus wants to pass a regressive bill that would fund Trump's border wall, limit legal immigration, and close the door to temporary workers and asylum seekers.
Paul Ryan can't give them that because it would be a black-eye on the House just before the midterm elections and it wouldn't pass the Senate anyway. It's also terrible policy.
This is why House Republicans have not completed the appropriations process in many years. As terrible as mainstream Republican policies may be, they're still not terrible enough for a vocal minority that counts enough members to kill any bill they feel like killing if it's being passed along party lines.
Passing a farm bill (or any other bill) that has a chance of passing through the Senate will require passing it with Democratic votes and, to attract Democrat votes, it will have to be more friendly to Democratic priorities.
The alternative to this process is passing a sweeping resolution to extend government funding at current levels which is what Congress has done every year since Republicans took control of Congress in 2015.
Cutting food stamps and imposing work requirements in the farm bill was a major priority for Speaker Ryan who still wants to pass his "welfare reform" agenda on his way out the door.