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

House Speaker Paul Ryan in a closed-door meeting on Wednesday sought to discourage fellow Republicans from signing a measure that would force an immigration vote members leaving the meeting said

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

Conservatives in the U.S. House of Representatives have told their Republican leaders a farm bill vote scheduled for Friday should not happen until they are given a chance to consider an immigration bill.

"The vast majority of our members believe that we should have a vote on immigration before we have a vote on the farm bill", Meadows said. The legislation is a major priority for House GOP leaders because it would dramatically revamp the food stamp program, part of a broader Republican effort to curb federal welfare programs.

Freedom Caucus members feel they've been burned in the past by leadership agreeing to schedule votes on legislation -such as a conservative immigration bill by House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte - and then not following through. That bill would dramatically cut legal immigration and authorize funding for border security, including construction of President Trump's proposed wall along the U.S. -Mexico border.

Leadership has agreed to hold a vote on the Goodlatte bill, McCarthy confirmed, but he deflected questions about whether a second bill was under negotiation.

"I'm hopeful that we'll bring up bills on immigration first so that we can have those real discussions about what's in it and what's not in it before we have to move on to the farm bill", the North Carolina Republican said after his group's afternoon meeting.

"We've been promised. many many months ago that we would have a vote on Goodlatte", Meadows said.

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For the moment, GOP leaders were still planning to press ahead with a Friday vote on the farm bill.

"We imagine we've obtained to cope with the immigration challenge, but right here we're nonetheless not coping with it", caucus chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C. informed Fox Information.

But Mr. Meadows said there's not an impending deadline, since the previous bill isn't due to expire until the fall. Some conservatives have threatened to oppose it unless leaders allow a vote on the hard-line immigration legislation that conservatives favor. "It's my belief that we need a narrow bill with a permanent fix for dreamers and border security". If a majority of House members sign on to the discharge petition, it would go straight to the floor.

Forty-nine lawmakers, including 20 Republicans, had signed the petition as of Thursday afternoon.

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. And they're just four GOP signatories away from being able to force a full House vote on a solution, assuming all House Democrats join them in support.

During a party-wide meeting Wednesday morning, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., dressed down the moderate rebels. Denham said he expected more to follow.

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The House leadership has worked to quash the discharge petition, arguing that it turns the floor over to Democrats and that President Trump might not sign the final product anyway.

McCarthy's close friend Jeff Denham of California, among them - have waited years for a bill, and frankly have no incentive to believe any leadership-backed effort until it's imminent.

McCarthy and Ryan are now scrambling for a Plan B, but their options are sparse.

The group is pushing for an immigration vote because the farm bill is one of the last pieces of must-pass legislation the House will tackle between now and a spending bill at the end of September.

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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