Duncan among Republicans joining Democrats in U.S. House vote against farm bill

U.S. House Republicans are at each other’s throats after the Freedom Caucus delivered a shock to party leaders on Friday by killing a key GOP bill over an unrelated simmering feud over immigration, reports Politico. Thirty Republicans joined all Democrats in opposing the Agriculture and Nutrition Act, better known as the farm bill.

In the Tennessee House delegation, Republican Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan of Knoxville, voted no along with Democrats Steve Cohen of Memphis and Jim Cooper of Nashville. The other six Tennessee representative, all Republicans, voted yes.   The bill got 198 yes votes versus 213 noes. (Roll call vote HERE.)

Speaker Paul Ryan and his leadership team were sure the group of three dozen rabble-rousers would cave. The partisan farm bill, after all, includes historic new work requirements for food stamp beneficiaries that conservatives have demanded for years. Plus, President Donald Trump leaned in, tweeting his support for the bill Thursday night to up the pressure on the far right.

But Ryan’s team sorely miscalculated. In an embarrassing show of weakness, the bill went down on the floor after a last-minute leadership scramble to flip votes.

Almost immediately, Republicans pointed fingers at each other. Freedom Caucus members said GOP leaders brought the matter on themselves by failing to pass a conservative immigration solution for Dreamers sooner. GOP leaders blamed the conservatives for upending a core Trump priority.

And some Republicans even blamed Ryan, arguing they’re stuck with an outgoing speaker who couldn’t get the job done.

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