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House rejects farm bill as conservatives revolt

House conservatives tanked a GOP farm bill on Friday over an intraparty feud over immigration, delivering a stunning blow to Republican leaders as they try to find a path forward on immigration.

In a 198-213 vote, GOP conservatives essentially joined Democrats in rejecting the measure, which would have introduced tougher work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that were a priority for Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPaul Ryan calls for Trump to accept results: 'The election is over' Bottom line Democratic anger rises over Trump obstacles to Biden transition MORE (R-Wis.).

The whip count remained in question in the hours leading up to the dramatic vote, despite GOP leaders expressing confidence just minutes beforehand that they would have enough support to pass the bill.

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Ryan and other GOP leaders frantically tried to flip members of the House Freedom Caucus from "no" to "yes" during the amendment vote series leading up to final passage.

At one point, Rep. Patrick McHenryPatrick Timothy McHenryBiden names Janet Yellen as his Treasury nominee Maxine Waters says Biden win is 'dawn of a new progressive America' McCarthy: 'I would think I already have the votes' to remain as House GOP leader MORE (R-N.C.), a chief deputy whip, was seen working Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) while Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyDemocrats were united on top issues this Congress — but will it hold? Top Republicans praise Trump's Flynn pardon Richmond says GOP 'reluctant to stand up and tell the emperor he wears no clothes' MORE (R-Calif.) was locked in an intense conversation with Rep. Jody HiceJody Brownlow HiceHillicon Valley: Department of Justice sues Google | House Republicans push for tech bias hearing | Biden drawing more Twitter engagement for first time House Republicans push VA for details on recent data breach IRS closes in on final phase of challenging tax season MORE (R-Ga.).

Ryan, McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseTop Republicans praise Trump's Flynn pardon Richmond says GOP 'reluctant to stand up and tell the emperor he wears no clothes' New RSC chairman sees 'Trumpism' as future MORE (R-La.) huddled with House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump holds his last turkey pardon ceremony Overnight Defense: Pentagon set for tighter virus restrictions as top officials tests positive | Military sees 11th COVID-19 death | House Democrats back Senate language on Confederate base names Trump administration revives talk of action on birthright citizenship MORE (R-N.C.) and Reps. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanCheney, top GOP lawmakers ask Trump campaign for proof of election fraud New RSC chairman sees 'Trumpism' as future Sunday shows preview: Biden team gears up for transition, Trump legal battles continue and pandemic rages on MORE (R-Ohio) and Scott PerryScott Gordon PerryHundreds of Trump supporters protest election results in Pennsylvania The Hill's Morning Report - Fearing defeat, Trump claims 'illegal' ballots Freedom Caucus member Scott Perry wins fifth term in Pennsylvania MORE (R-Pa.) earlier as lawmakers voted on amendments to the bill.

Leadership made an offer to the Freedom Caucus that they could pick any date they wanted in June for a floor vote on a hard-line immigration bill crafted by Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteBottom line No documents? Hoping for legalization? Be wary of Joe Biden Press: Trump's final presidential pardon: himself MORE (R-Va.), according to a source familiar with the discussion.

In the end it, it wasn’t enough. Meadows said his members needed more of a commitment from leadership on the Goodlatte bill.
 
“It was not fully clear,” Meadows said of the offer from leadership.

Leadership expressed disappointment after the vote, as did President TrumpDonald John TrumpGeraldo Rivera on Trump sowing election result doubts: 'Enough is enough now' Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race Scott Atlas resigns as coronavirus adviser to Trump MORE.

"President Donald J. Trump is disappointed in the result of today’s vote in the House of Representatives on the Farm bill, and hopes the House can resolve any remaining issues in order to achieve strong work requirements and support our Nation’s agricultural community," said White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters.

The White House vowed to "continue to work with Congress to pass a farm bill on time."

"Look, the farm bill got sidetracked by the immigration debate, just like America is getting sidetracked for the immigration debate," said McHenry, who took a shot at the Republicans who voted against the bill.

"We had enough members that were willing to vote for the farm bill, that liked the farm bill, but a small group that wanted to extract some direct pledge on immigration that we could not simply fulfill under their time frame," he said.

"Which is really a great disappointment that they would vote against a policy that they profess to support in order to get something immediate that was not in our legislative capacity."

A total of 30 Republicans voted against the bill. The GOP dissenters were largely a mix of Freedom Caucus members and moderates.

"This is all the more disappointing because we offered the vote these members were looking for, but they still chose to take the bill down," said Doug Andres, a spokesman for Ryan.
 
Ryan also voted "no" on the measure for procedural reasons so that leadership could bring it back up again. Congress has until Sept. 30 to pass legislation reauthorizing federal farm and food programs.
 
After the failed vote, a frustrated Rep. Dennis RossDennis Alan RossBiden leans on foreign policy establishment to build team Bandar speaks out: the changing landscape in the Mideast Rep. Ross Spano loses Florida GOP primary amid campaign finance scrutiny MORE (R-Fla.) left the chamber warning that now more Republican members would sign a discharge petition intended to force votes on a series of immigration measures, including some likely to be backed by Democrats.

He said GOP leaders had sought to convince members to back the farm bill with this warning.

The discharge petition has badly divided Republicans and reminded the GOP of their stark differences on immigration.

The effort represents a revolt against GOP leaders, who generally control what comes to the floor. The petition would set up a "Queen of the Hill" process in which four immigration measures would be voted upon, with the one getting the most votes above 218 being sent to the Senate.

Democrats have been told to back the discharge petition, and GOP leaders have argued it effectively gives power to the minority party.

"The unfortunate thing is by this show today, it gives more leverage on the discharge petition, which I think is highly destructive," McHenry said following the vote.

The votes could lead to House passage of legislation that would shelter "Dreamers," immigrants who came to the United States illegally as children. Helping these immigrants is important to Democrats and many of those backing the discharge petition, as an Obama-era program sheltering them from deportation is being unwound by Trump.

Republicans made a procedural motion after the vote that would allow Ryan to bring the bill to the floor again, though it seemed unlikely there would be another vote on Friday.

--Updated at 1:56 p.m.