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Conservatives lining up to block House farm bill

18 May 2018

Meanwhile, in response to the momentum that effort is gathering, the conservative Freedom Caucus has been holding up another bill - the so-called "farm bill" that sets agriculture policy as well as a host of other high-profile issues for up to five years - that has a razor thin margin to pass with Republican votes, saying they demand a path forward on immigration.

Under the still-evolving idea, one bill would resemble legislation strongly backed by conservatives that would curb legal immigration and open the door to building President Donald Trump's prized wall with Mexico.

Meadows says before conservatives can vote "yes" on the farm bill, they want a House floor vote on legislation sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.

"We don't think there should be a farm bill vote until we deal with immigration", Representative Jim Jordan, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, told Reuters, adding they had relayed the message to leadership.

The moderates' plan would seem likeliest to produce legislation that would be backed by virtually all Democrats and a handful of Republicans but would have no chance of winning Trump's signature.

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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.

"I am more than confident we have all the votes we need today, ' the California Republican said Wednesday". The Republicans, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe confidential conversations, said it could take a week or two to reach a final agreement.

As for the conservatives, McCarthy told reporters on Thursday that he'd already promised the Freedom Caucus they would get a floor vote on the Goodlatte bill in June, so he didn't understand why they were now demanding a vote sooner. It was unclear what the leaders would do this time that would help achieve that aspiration.

Even after the smaller group meeting with leadership Thursday evening, little had been decided, with members planning a late-night conference call to see if any consensus could be reached among the Freedom Caucus.

A leadership aide said that discussions are ongoing but as of now there are no plans to change the plan to vote on the farm bill Friday.

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

Goodlatte's proposal would have just three-year renewals of permits like those under DACA, which protected young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, with no path to citizenship for those immigrants in exchange for a host of aggressive anti-illegal immigration measures as well as steep cuts to legal immigration.

Hundreds of thousands of Dreamers who arrived in the US illegally as children have been temporarily shielded by that program. They have have been in limbo ever since President Trump ended the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program past year.

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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Conservatives lining up to block House farm bill