Tuesday June 11, 2013
Indiana’s two U.S. senators, Republican Dan Coats and Democrat Joe Donnelly, voted for the five-year farm bill.
The measure, formally known as the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013, passed 66-27 Monday. Now the thing is whether the U.S. House can pass a companion measure. Funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aka the food stamps program, is, perhaps, the big point of contention — the House has proposed much deeper cuts than the Senate.
(Here’s an earlier article on the farm bill I did, based on a Donnelly teleconference with reporters.)
(Here’s a blog by Truth reporter Angelle Barbazon looking at food stamp usage in Elkhart County.)
Here’s what Coats had to say, in a press release, following Monday’s vote:
“This legislation will provide Indiana’s farmers with the assurances they need to plan and prepare their operations over the next five years. This farm bill also recognizes our nation’s current fiscal situation by including significant cost-saving measures.”
Now here’s what Donnelly had to say, also from a press release:
“While no bill is perfect, the farm bill that passed the Senate tonight is common sense legislation that gives farmers the certainty they need to make long-term decisions. I urge the House of Representatives to pass the farm bill to support our country’s farmers and producers. America’s ag community deserves more than the partisan gridlock that prevented a five-year farm bill from passing last year.”
The Senate plan totals $955 billion over 10 years, a savings of $23 billion, according to the National Farmers Union, a Washington, D.C.-based farmers advocacy group. Food stamps would be cut by $4.1 billion.
The House version totals $940 billion over 10 years and would result in $39.7 billion in spending cuts, according to NFU. The House proposal would reduce food stamps by more than $20 billion.
Tim Vandenack is a reporter at the Elkhart Truth newspaper in Elkhart, Ind., www.etruth.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-296-5884. Visit him/subscribe to him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack.