You would think that one of the basic rules of being Speaker of the House would be that you don’t bring a bill up for a vote unless you were sure that you had the votes to pass it.
That simple rule seems to have escaped John Boehner.
A broad five-year farm bill went down to a surprise defeat in the House on Thursday when Republican conservatives revolted against the legislation, arguing that it would cost too much, while Democrats defected, saying it would not spend enough on their priorities.
The 234 to 195 vote was the latest rebuke to House GOP leaders, who have struggled to muster enough control of the chamber to pass major legislation. The defeat also bodes ill for legislation on the budget and immigration that is expected to be debated in the House this summer and fall. Senators reached an agreement Thursday to increase funding for border security, a deal that increases the likelihood that the immigration bill will be approved with broad support.
So either Mr. Boehner is really bad at his job or the Republicans have no qualms about sabotaging him and his leadership for their own reasons.