This morning, Congressman Marlin Stutzman (IN-03) commended the House Agriculture Committee for writing a Farm Bill that includes key reforms outlined in his REFRESH Act. Despite his outspoken support for ending direct payments and reforming commodity programs, Congressman Stutzman voted against the final bill because it did not sufficiently address the costly expansion of the Food Stamp program.
"Farmers want Washington to make the tough decisions," said Stutzman. "Like other small business owners, we know that our nation's $16 trillion debt prevents economic growth and chokes opportunities for the next generation. If fancy speeches could cut the debt, we wouldn't be here. This is going to take serious steps. I'm grateful that Chairman Lucas and the committee advanced a bill that will repeal direct payments. That's something I've worked on since my first day in Congress. Unfortunately, as it stands right now, the bill doesn't do enough to roll back the vast expansion of the Food Stamp program. As someone who was sent to Washington to end the excessive spending, I'll always look for more savings."
The Agriculture Committee passed H.R. 6083, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act, adopting reforms outlined in Stutzman's Rural Economic Farm and Ranch Sustainability and Hunger (REFRESH) Act.
On October 5, 2011, Congressman Stutzman and Senator Lugar offered REFRESH to save $40 billion over the next ten years.
Both FARRM and REFRESH end direct payments to farmers, an outdated, manipulative, and expensive system. While REFRESH would have repealed the federal sugar program, which levies an indirect tax of an extra $4 billion each year in food prices, FARRM left the program untouched.
Congressman Stutzman introduced an amendment to clarify due-process procedures for organic producers who fall under USDA inspection. The amendment was adopted without opposition.