Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, has renewed his efforts to strip food stamps from the federal farm bill.
Stutzman is the leader of a group of 27 House Republicans who signed a letter this week urging a House-Senate conference committee to keep agriculture policy separate from nutrition programs.
Thats exactly what the House did earlier this year and the conference committee shouldnt reverse this historic victory for transparency, Stutzman, a LaGrange County farmer, said in a statement.
The conference committee met for the first time Wednesday to begin work on resolving differences between House and Senate versions of the farm bill. In its letter, the Stutzman-led group asks that the panel reauthorize a 5-year farm bill and a 3-year nutrition bill.
The letter points out that the Congressional Budget Office projects the Senate version of the farm bill to cost nearly $1 trillion over 10 years, with 80 percent of the cost coming from food stamps.
The American people are tired of this type of out-of-control spending and irresponsible sausage-making. Our constituents deserve a Congress that thoughtfully and separately considers the legislation that it passes, the letter stated.
The GOP-controlled House voted in July to split the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program from its 5-year farm bill, which is what Stutzman had proposed weeks earlier in amendments rejected by the House Rules Committee.
In September, the House approved cutting SNAP spending by 5 percent, or nearly $40 billion, over 10 years by toughening eligibility requirements. The farm bill approved in June by the Democratic Senate contains SNAP and trims it by $4 billion over a decade.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, opposed the Houses approach during the conference committees hearing Wednesday.
The Houses indiscriminate SNAP cuts and harmful policy proposals would harm literally millions of children and seniors and those with disabilities and many of those who hold low-income jobs and veterans, Brown said.
Brown said the House proposal would break a decades-old bond between farmers and those Americans who are hungry.
Stutzman told The Journal Gazette in September that he asked GOP leadership to appoint him to the conference committee, but he did not receive a spot when members were announced recently. No lawmakers from Indiana are on the panel, which consists of 29 representatives and 12 senators.
All 17 of the House Republicans on the conference committee had favored splitting food stamps from the farm bill in July.