In a supreme test of the leadership of Speaker John Boehner and his team, the House managed to pass a Farm Bill shorn of any SNAP (food stamp) funding authorization by a 216-208 margin despite opposition from House Democrats, most major farm organizations, and Heritage Action. The bill attracted not a single Democratic vote, but lost only 12 Republicans.

The vote keeps, in theory anyway, prospects for enactment of a farm bill alive. Now, presumably, Boehner and company will try to put together a separate SNAP bill vicious enough to satisfy conservatives, and then–well, nobody knows what, then. But the leadership’s ability to keep most Republicans on board in today’s vote probably reflects some ironclad assurances made about holding the line in conference on SNAP. Since the Senate bill’s SNAP cuts were considered barely tolerable by most Democrats, prospects are not very good for agreement. But hey, for the moment at least, the Orange Man can wave his gavel in triumph.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.