A fierce immigration fight among Republicans is threatening to derail the GOP farm bill, just hours before the legislation is scheduled to reach the House floor.
The Freedom Caucus, a band of roughly 30 conservative hard-liners, claims to have enough votes to block the farm bill unless Republican leaders agree to schedule a vote on a separate immigration measure from Judiciary Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteTwo Democrats on the fence over immigration discharge petition House conservatives ask Trump to intervene in fight with DOJ over documents Freedom Caucus weighs option to derail forced vote on immigration MORE (R-Va.).
The “vast majority” of the caucus wants to vote on the Goodlatte bill before they agree to back the farm legislation, according to Freedom Caucus chairman Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsDivisions deepen as Mueller probe hits one year GOP leaders huddle with discharge petition backers, opponents House conservatives ask Trump to intervene in fight with DOJ over documents MORE (R-N.C.).
The push comes at a time when a group of moderate Republicans are moving ahead with a discharge petition aimed at forcing a series of immigration votes on the House floor.
“We don’t have an agreement,” Meadows said Thursday. “We’ve been promised many, many months ago we would have a vote on Goodlatte. And we think it’s important that we have a vote on Goodlatte, and at this point we have not been able to convince any of our members to go from ‘no’ to ‘yes’ [on the farm bill]. … At this point there is no deal to be made.”
“I've already told them we're going to give them a vote on Goodlatte, so I don't understand the difficulty," McCarthy told reporters.
As of Thursday evening, GOP leaders were still pushing ahead with a planned Friday vote on the farm bill, even though the whip count remains in question.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike ConawayKenneth (Mike) Michael ConawayWhite House urges support for House farm bill Overnight Finance: Supreme Court strikes down law banning sports betting | Lawmakers stunned by Trump push to help Chinese company | Ryan, GOP scramble to win support for controversial farm bill This week: Trump heads to Capitol Hill MORE (R-Texas) told reporters earlier on Thursday that they were still shy of the votes they need to pass the legislation.
“Debate’s moving forward, but still working member to member to get all the votes we need to kill the two poison pill amendments and...