House Freedom Caucus Gets A “Win” By Sinking The Farm Bill

Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows, R-S.C., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 19, 2017, calling on the House to vote on clean repeal of the Affordable Care Act. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Members of the conservative Republican House Freedom Caucus followed through on their threat to sink a five-year farm bill that included new requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps.

The Freedom Caucus, led by Rep. Mark Meadows and including familiar faces like the jacketless Rep. Jim Jordan, were insistent upon the House holding a vote on an immigration bill designed by Judiciary Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte before the farm bill came to the floor.

The group in the past has gone along with Republican leadership’s compromise of “vote for this now and we will definitely vote on immigration later,” only to be burned by Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy. Republican leadership, in an effort to whip more votes for the bill, promised an immigration vote would happen but not until June.

A tune House conservatives have heard all too often as of Friday.

Overnight, many speculated as to whether or not the Freedom Caucus would follow through with their threat to sink a conservative farm bill, and lo and behold, they did.

Conservatives citing the immigration vote, and some moderate Republicans who opposed the increased requirements for assistance, defeated the bill in a 198 – 213 vote.

While losing the conservative farm bill seems counterintuitive, the Freedom Caucus has also staked out its position in doing so with regards to an immigration vote. House leadership can expect to face the same roadblock until one happens.

The failure to pass something as popular for conservatives as prudent welfare legislation also calls into question the outgoing speaker’s effectiveness at this point due to his now clear inability to put the screws to those in the Republican caucus.