House farm bill dormant for now amid immigration dispute
May 21, 2018
The House farm bill that failed to pass on Friday is dormant for the time being as House Republican leaders struggle with the immigration issue.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., called for reconsideration of the bill immediately after the vote. The chair declared that the "ayes" had won a voice vote, but postponed a roll call vote.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has released both a weekly leader's schedule and a list of bills to be considered on the suspension calendar on Monday evening, but did not mention reconsideration of the farm bill in either schedule.
Under its rules, the House has two legislative days to complete a vote on reconsideration of a bill.
The first votes of the week in the House are scheduled at 6:30 p.m. Monday, and the House is scheduled to leave Thursday by 3 p.m. for a week-long Memorial Day break.
The House vote was 198 in favor of the farm bill, 213 against it. All Democrats and 30 Republicans voted against it. The Republicans were a mix of members of the Freedom Caucus and moderate Republicans who consider the bill's changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program too restrictive.
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Members of the Freedom Caucus have demanded that the House figure out a way to bring up a restrictive immigration bill, even as moderate Republicans have signed a discharge petition in an attempt to force a vote on a proposal to protect the immigrant students without legal status known as the Dreamers.
Commentators said that the failure to pass the farm bill over the immigration was a signal of the problems that Ryan has faced since he announced he would retire at the end of this session of Congress.
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition said that Ryan and his leadership team would bring the bill up for a vote again only "if they have assurances that a sufficient number of votes will be turned around to allow the bill to pass upon reconsideration."
"That in turn will likely require a deal on the farm bill and on immigration bills that somehow satisfies either the moderates, the far right, or both, in sufficient number for a second vote to allow the farm bill to squeak by on a thin, partisan vote," the NSAC said.
While The Washington Post said that Ryan cannot wash his hands of the immigration fight, Axios said, "Paul Ryan's House is collapsing, and if the chaos keeps accelerating it could force him out of the speakership before his planned graceful exit at the end of the year."