The compromise farm bill stripped out all of Paul Ryan's priorities — so he lied about it to his GOP colleagues.
Speaker Paul Ryan will go down in history as one of the weakest and most inconsequential House speakers ever to wield the gavel.
So it seems fitting that in what is likely the final piece of significant legislation to pass the House under Ryan's leadership, Ryan himself stooped to lying about the content of the bill in order to beg his fellow Republicans to support it.
In an attempt to gin up support for a compromise farm bill, Ryan told Republican colleagues that the bill included his long-desired goal of imposing stricter work requirements on people who receive food stamps.
"There is just one catch," Politico noted. "It does no such thing."
The final compromise bill, which passed both the House and the Senate with broad support, was "stripped of every controversial proposal the House GOP wanted on food stamps," Politico reported.
The only conservative tweak Ryan successfully included in the bill was "so minimal it doesn't register as saving any money, according to the CBO."
Ryan's leadership on the farm bill was so ineffective that House conservatives reportedly complained at being "steamrolled."
On the other side of the aisle, Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, the head Democrat on the Agriculture Committee, told Politico he has received standing ovations in Democratic caucus meetings because he "stared [Republicans] down" on this issue.
Under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi, Democrats unanimously opposed the House version of the farm bill over the summer, leading to its initial defeat — and one of Ryan's many embarrassments as Speaker. A subsequent version eventually passed by just two votes.
But this time around, Peterson told Politico he expected most Democrats to support the compromise version because Ryan's agenda was so thoroughly crushed.
That turned out to be true, and Pelosi turned out to be much better at keeping her caucus unified than Ryan did.
In the end, the bill passed 369-47, with only three of the "no" votes coming from Democrats. The remaining 44 came from Ryan's Republican caucus.
In one of his final acts as Speaker, Ryan tried to use pathetic lies to corral members of his own party. And even that didn't work too well.
In the end, Ryan was forced to rely on Pelosi, Peterson, and almost every House Democrat to pass a key piece of legislation — and he was forced to give up on his yearslong dream of making life worse for people who need help with their grocery bills.
It's a fitting way to cement Ryan's embarrassingly ineffective legacy as Speaker.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.