The story, here, is that the original House version of the bill failed when an amendment was adopted which cut SNAP (food stamp) funding, meaning that it lost Democratic votes, while Republicans deserted the bill anyway because it was still too high-spending for them. The leadership "solved" that by splitting the bill and going for a GOP-only 218, and after (reported) heavy lobbing, they got over the bar.
What's not clear to me is whether John Boehner is better off with this thing passing. As Ed Kilgore notes, it's not real likely that anything can come out of conference that can pass. It's not really clear, right now, if the separate nutrition bill can pass. It's not clear what Boehner had to promise to conservatives about conference to get them to stick on this vote. It's not clear what the next step is.
It's clear what the next step is if you assume SNAP is nothing more than 47 million hostages the Tea Party can take.
It seems to me that Boehner did have another choice. If the GOP-only farm-only Farm Bill fails, then maybe he can push the mainstream of his conference to support a bipartisan bill, leaving the conservative fringe out entirely. It won't work on everything, but on the Farm Bill, it really might. Maybe. And if it works on the Farm Bill and there's little fallout, that might strengthen Boehner's ability to gather different coalitions on the next tough one that comes up.
Sure. And then it becomes another regular battle over SNAP that the House can then use for leverage. Poor people are just bargaining chips. They don't matter, and they aren't a majority Republican constituency. They're poor people. Screw 'em.