The right-wing-never-happy-always-whining Freedom Caucus joined with more moderate Republicans on Friday to sink the farm bill on May 18 in spectacular fashion. The latest floor fiasco featuring a GOP bill going down was a massive embarrassment for Republican leadership in the House.
That’s probably a good thing for people who are poor in America and who want to eat. The bill contained work requirements for food stamps in the same way Republicans have required work requirements for Medicaid expansion benefits in many red states.
“Republicans are putting forward Paul Ryan’s farm bill to drastically cut funding from food assistance programs dedicated to helping our country’s most vulnerable families. Food is not a luxury. Being hungry is not a choice. I’ll be voting NO on this terrible bill,” tweeted Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) on May 18.
The Farm bill crashed and burned by a vote of 198-213 as Freedom Caucus demanded a “build a wall” immigration vote in exchange for support for the bill. Speaker Ryan, who is retiring at the end of the year, won’t grant that vote.
“This farm bill is loaded with corporate welfare and subsidies. It’s a big-government, anti-market swamp creature that puts special interests ahead of the American people. Every conservative should oppose it,” wrote Rep. Justin Amash (R-IL) after voting against the legislation.
“There’s a grotesque irony that
@HouseGOP’s ‘Farm Bill’ will take away school lunches from 265,000 kids. GOP lawmakers top priority – after tax cuts for Wall St – is making more American kids go hungry. No wonder Congress has a 15% approval rating,” wrote Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) on May 17.
Also on May 17, Rep. Keith Ellison wrote that, “The GOP’s Farm Bill would force as many as 2 million Americans off of SNAP food assistance. We should not be shaming people who are in a rough patch in their lives out of accepting the food they need to get by and get back on their feet.”
The bill was accurately seen by many as a welfare reform package that Ryan attempted to pass before he departs Congress. Given that that’s what he has spent most of his time doing during his career in the U.S. House, few were surprised.