Congressman Steve King.

Iowa Congressman Steve King says he was taken aback by the failure of the Farm Bill on Friday in the U.S. House.

“It was a surprise. It was a surprise to me. I told people I thought it would pass by a small margin of votes, maybe five, plus or minus one or two,” King says. “I was watching the whip team before that vote was called. They were relaxed, thinking it was all in the bag. Then, when I watched the board, it went the other way.”

King, a Republican from Kiron who serves on the House Agriculture Committee, was in Orange City over the weekend. He says explains why the bill failed.

“No Democrat would vote for it because it had work requirements in the SNAP program,” King says. “So, they pretty well certified themselves as being against work. I’m not particularly surprised at that, but that’s the position they took, so it all had to be passed with Republican votes.” At least nine Republicans joined with Democrats in voting against the Farm Bill, colleagues King calls “liberal Republicans,” who also disagreed with the SNAP work requirements. There were several other Republicans who King refers to as “the Freedom Caucus people,” who also opposed the Farm Bill.

“There were 13 of them that voted no and they did so because they want an immigration bill to come to the floor,” King says. “That immigration bill has got two components of amnesty in it and I oppose that immigration bill and I’m just stunned that they would take two separate issues, vote no on something that they would otherwise vote yes on, just to get some leverage to get a bill to the floor that has amnesty in it.”

King is still optimistic and remains confident the House will pass a Farm Bill within the next month or so that will be very similar to the bill that just failed.

(By Dennis Morrice, KLEM, Le Mars)