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Screenshot of Republican vote passing Farm bill that did not include food stamps
House Republicans cheered as they passed their special farm-not-food farm bill by the skin of their teeth Thursday afternoon. It wasn't clear in the immediate run-up to the vote if Republicans would have the votes, and then Democrats forced repeated procedural votes as a protest against the Republican leadership's decision to separate the farm subsidies part of the traditional farm bill from funding for nutrition programs.

The way forward is murky for the bill, since the Senate already passed a farm bill including both farms and food and isn't likely to agree to strip out the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in conference:

When asked by reporters how House passage of the controversial proposal might lead to a new farm law, Boehner was vague.

“My goal right now is to get the farm bill passed,” he said. “We'll get to those issues later.”

In other words, that what they passed won't pass the Senate or get the president's signature is not the issue. This is about John Boehner, and his need to show he could get the House Republicans he ostensibly leads to pass something, anything, to make up for his farm bill failure last month. And he barely got it through: The 216-208 vote was only good enough for passage because some Republicans were absent.

Still, voting to screw poor people and saving face for Boehner is apparently reason enough for House Republicans to cheer.

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