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Stutzman 1 of 62 in GOP to vote ‘no’


Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, made good on his threat to vote against the farm bill.

The LaGrange County farmer was among 62 Republicans – and the only one from Indiana – who joined with 172 Democrats to defeat the bill Thursday in the GOP-controlled House. But while Democrats generally opposed planned cuts in federal spending on food stamps for low-income people, Stutzman wanted the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program removed entirely from the farm bill.

In a Wednesday floor speech, Stutzman vowed to oppose the measure unless it split agriculture policy and food stamps into separate bills – the gist of two amendments he had drafted but that were rejected this week by the House Rules Committee.

“As a fourth-generation farmer, I know first-hand how important the farm bill is for farmers, but I also know that farm policy and food stamp policy are different,” he said in a statement after Thursday’s vote.

He repeatedly has complained that food stamps make up 80 percent of farm bill spending. The House bill would have spent $940 billion over 10 years on agriculture and nutrition programs.

“While it might have been called a ‘farm bill,’ the American people understand that it was anything but,” he said in a statement.

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said in a statement he was disappointed the House did not pass its bill “so we could go to a conference committee, work through our differences, and get a bill signed into law.”

The Democratic Senate approved its version of a farm bill June 10; it would cut $400 million a year from food stamps, compared with $2 billion in yearly reductions in the House bill.