Members of one of the leading conservative think tanks have reportedly been barred from attending a Republican House group's weekly meetings after the Farm Bill went down in flames earlier this summer.
According to a report Wednesday in National Journal, the Republican Study Committee is no longer allowing employees for the Heritage Foundation to attend the meetings. Heritage, currently led by former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), had been a fixture at the meetings until last month when the RSC, comprised of 172 conservative GOP House members, made the change.
The move came after the House voted in June to reject a Farm Bill that would have slashed $2 billion annually from food stamps. The think tank's lobbying arm, Heritage Action, called for the bill to be split into two parts: one to cover agricultural policy and another that dealt with SNAP, the food stamp program. Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN), a member of the RSC, proposed an amendment that would have accomplished just that but it failed.
Heritage Action then warned members against voting for the bill, ultimately leading to 62 Republicans joining Democrats to defeat the legislation despite majority GOP support. Conservative groups such as Heritage and Club For Growth celebrated the demise of the Farm Bill, a major blow to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who supported the legislation.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) chided Boehner for the failure.