Farm bill fails in US House over Republican immigration spat

WASHINGTON, May 18 (Reuters) - The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives failed to approve a sweeping $867 billion farm bill on Friday after conservative Republicans warned party leaders not to hold the vote until they were given the chance to consider a bill to clamp down on immigration.

The next steps are unclear for the bill, which failed in a 198-to-213 vote.

Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a member of Republican leadership, told reporters "the Freedom Caucus" was the reason the bill failed.

The conservative Freedom Caucus has about 30 members in the 435-seat House and they have been pushing for consideration of a conservative immigration bill. The group told party leaders on Thursday that they should delay the farm bill vote until a debate is held on immigration.

RELATED: California farmworkers

Democrats also voted against the farm bill due to changes it would make to a food stamps program used by about 40 million Americans, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry have said they are writing their own version of the farm bill because the House's proposed SNAP changes could not pass the chamber, where Republicans hold a slim 51-49 majority and passing most legislation requires 60 votes. (Reporting By Amanda Becker Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bill Berkrot)