By Siobhan Hughes and Jesse Newman – Updated May 18, 2018 7:06 p.m. ET, The Wall Street Journal
WASHINGTON—The House defeated a Republican-written farm bill on Friday after GOP leaders couldn’t win over a bloc of their party’s most conservative lawmakers, who were demanding a separate vote soon on a measure to toughen immigration enforcement.
The conservatives, members of the House Freedom Caucus, broke with their party even as leaders tried to persuade them that an immigration measure they wanted to bring to the floor would come up in June as part of a series of other immigration votes. The group instead wanted an immediate vote on a specific bill that would reduce legal immigration and add enforcement measures.
As a result, the farm bill was defeated, with 198 lawmakers in favor and 213 opposed. Thirty Republicans joined 183 Democrats in opposition.
House GOP leaders needed most Republicans to stay on board because Democrats had already opposed the bill, objecting to new work requirements that would be imposed on food-stamp recipients.
House Republican leaders have for years faced divisions within their conference—a split that led to the resignation of House Speaker John Boehner in 2015. The Freedom Caucus, which has an estimated three dozen members, has often asserted its clout against an establishment leadership it believes is too willing to cut deals with Democrats.