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July 11, 2013 4:04 PM By the Skin of His Nicotine-Stained Teeth

By Ed Kilgore

In a supreme test of the leadership of Speaker John Boehner and his team, the House managed to pass a Farm Bill shorn of any SNAP (food stamp) funding authorization by a 216-208 margin despite opposition from House Democrats, most major farm organizations, and Heritage Action. The bill attracted not a single Democratic vote, but lost only 12 Republicans.

The vote keeps, in theory anyway, prospects for enactment of a farm bill alive. Now, presumably, Boehner and company will try to put together a separate SNAP bill vicious enough to satisfy conservatives, and then—well, nobody knows what, then. But the leadership’s ability to keep most Republicans on board in today’s vote probably reflects some ironclad assurances made about holding the line in conference on SNAP. Since the Senate bill’s SNAP cuts were considered barely tolerable by most Democrats, prospects are not very good for agreement. But hey, for the moment at least, the Orange Man can wave his gavel in triumph.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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