Paralyzed by a complete inability to pass legislation on their own, House Republican leaders have removed their planned funding and cuts to food stamps in order to get the Farm Bill passed.
Roll Call is reporting that House Republican leaders are so desperate to get a Farm Bill passed that they have completely dropped SNAP (food stamps) funding from the bill, “House Republican leaders have decided to drop food stamps from the farm bill and are whipping the farm-only portion of the bill for a vote that will likely come this week, according to a GOP leadership aide. The nutrition portion of the bill would be dealt with later.”
Things have gotten so bad within the House Republican caucus that Majority Leader Eric Cantor had to tear into and threaten his own fellow Republicans during a closed door meeting yesterday. What Republicans won’t admit is that by removing food stamps from the bill, they will be able to get Democratic votes for passage. After Boehner and Cantor were humiliated by the bill’s surprising failure on June 20th, they tried to blame House Democrats, but Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi reminded them that, “But it’s also important to note, what is it,  Republicans voted for a killer amendment, which was the Southerland amendment, which made further cuts in nutrition and food stamps. [Sixty-one] Republicans voted for that who voted no on the bill.”
Democrats refused to support the bill once Republicans tried to include even more food stamp cuts than originally agreed to, but the bill was killed by tea party Republicans who are doing their best to get rid of the food stamp program.
Speaker Boehner loves to use the phrase kicking the can down the road to criticize Democrats, but in this case, House Republicans are booting the can off the road and into a ditch. Republicans will have their inner caucus fight over how much food to take away from children, elderly, and the disabled later, but if they pass even deeper cuts as separate legislation, their bill faces certain death in the Senate.
The best chance that House Republicans had to get the cuts in food aid that they are dreaming of was as part of the Farm Bill. Paul Ryan and John Boehner are planning on offering Obama the option of cutting food stamps in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, but that offer is going to go nowhere.
After the Farm Bill failed to pass the first time, Pelosi called Boehner and Cantor’s leadership amateur hour, and there is nothing in this move today that suggests anything other than incompetence.
There will be a bigger battle over food stamp cuts ahead, but today’s news demonstrates that the Republican controlled House of Representatives is a complete joke that is incapable of passing any legislation.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association