Sunday, 21 October, 2018

GOP fights over crucial farm bill as lawmakers demand immigration vote first

GOP fights over crucial farm bill as lawmakers demand immigration vote first Rep. Mark Meadows: 'The Time Is Now' to Vote on Wall, Immigration Reform
Kenny Thornton | 18 May, 2018, 17:26

WASHINGTON-A group of hard-line conservatives rejected an immigration deal that was meant to unlock Republican votes needed to pass a five-year, $867 billion farm bill, leaving the measure up in the air on the eve of a scheduled House vote.

The Freedom Caucus desires Home Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to carry ahead a invoice co-sponsored by Home Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and Home Homeland Safety Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas.

Asked about the plan, a GOP leadership aide said no deal had yet been reached among Republicans.

GOP leaders already face a tough equation on the farm bill, an $868 billion measure that would set food and farm policy for the next five years. That method requires a majority of the House of Representatives to sign the petition in order to bypass the typical procedure of a bill going through committee or a host of other legislative roadblocks that GOP leadership could use to stop it.

The new bill expands that requirement to apply to all work-capable adults, mandating that they either work or participate in work training for 20 hours per week with the exception of seniors, pregnant women, caretakers of children under the age of 6, or people with disabilities. The food stamp program is officially known as SNAP, for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Republicans in the U.S. Congress who are pushing for action on immigration legislation said on Thursday they were getting closer to an agreement on a bill that President Donald Trump could support. Hardline conservative House members says the SNAP changes aren't strict enough and the bill is too generous to farmers, especially the larger farmers.

As a concession to moderate Republicans, it would also provide temporary legal protections for the almost 700,000 so-called DREAMers, undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children. That was when Trump said he was ending a program to help the "Dreamers", which former Democratic President Barack Obama created in 2012.

Some Freedom Caucus members expressed doubt about McCarthy's commitment to have the vote on Goodlatte's bill, arguing that leaders have made that same promise in the past.

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"We are now having a discussion about the principles the president put out and which ones get bipartisan support", Denham said.

Conservatives aren't the only ones squeezing Ryan on immigration.

The moderates have leverage because of a rarely utilized procedure that can force votes if 218 lawmakers — a House majority — sign a petition.

By pushing the immigration issue at the same time, the moderates and conservative factions may force a GOP reckoning on an issue that has bedeviled the Republican Party for years. GOP leaders and conservatives have denounced the moderates' effort and are trying to block it. But so far, they have been unable to offer a solution that would satisfy all factions.

"I am more than confident we have all the votes we need today, ' the California Republican said Wednesday". Several moderate Republicans oppose the bill for the same reason. The farm bill also does not expire until September, so Meadows argued there is no need to pass it this Friday.

The commitment comes as GOP leadership has been squeezed by frustrated Republican members from both sides of the ideological spectrum.

Moderate Republicans from districts with many Hispanic, suburban or agriculture-industry voters have fought to protect the Dreamers, while conservatives consider DACA a program that has provided amnesty to people in the US illegally.

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