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Farmer Stutzman votes ‘no’ as House passes farm bill

As he had vowed a day earlier, Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, voted Wednesday morning against the five-year farm bill, which the House approved in a bipartisan 251-166 vote.

In a floor speech ahead of the vote, Stutzman said that Congress “works best when we do our work in the full light of day. Unfortunately, this farm bill was written behind closed doors. It was stripped of long-term reforms. It spends money we simply don’t have.”

Stutzman, a LaGrange County corn and soybean farmer, had called for farm and nutrition programs to be split into separate legislation, which the Republican-controlled House did last summer. But House and Senate negotiators restored the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – commonly known as food stamps – to the compromise they agreed to Monday – a combination that Stutzman and other conservatives regularly describe as “an unholy alliance.”

The farm bill would spend roughly $100 billion a year, with about 80 percent of that amount going for food stamps. The bill does reduce SNAP funds by $800 million a year from current levels.

The legislation also eliminates direct-payment subsidies for farmers, replacing them with expanded crop insurance programs.

Stutzman was among 63 Republicans and 103 Democrats who voted against the bill. It was supported by 162 Republicans and 89 Democrats.

The legislation next goes to the Senate for consideration.

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