U.S. Congressman Marlin Stutzman testified before the House Rules Committee today in favor of his amendments to divide the Farm Bill into a true, "farm-only" Farm Bill and separate food stamp legislation.
"Thank you Chairman Sessions, Ranking Member Slaughter and members of the Rules Committee. I want to thank you for the opportunity to speak before you today regarding my amendments to the Farm Bill. My amendments are simple. They would separate farm policy from food stamp policy.
"As a fourth generation farmer, I know farming. It's what I did before coming to Congress and it's what I'll do when I leave Congress. I love it.
"I often heard about the Farm Bill growing up and I know how important it is for farmers in my congressional district in northeast Indiana as well as around the country. I believe we need a Farm Bill but we need that Farm Bill to be responsible.
"I also believe in helping those who can't help themselves and that means making sure those who live in poverty in this country are fed.
"But for too long this Congress has combined farm policy and nutrition policy and what we have now is a bill that spends $740 billion on food stamps and $200 billion on farm policy. This shouldn't be the case.
"The American people deserve an open and honest debate about farm and nutrition policy in this country. They need to know that food stamp policy is discussed and debated under the guise of farm policy.
"The only way that will happen is if we separate farm policy from nutrition policy and my amendments before the Rules Committee today will do just that.
"In the past years, under this Republican majority, we've held to a simple common-sense principle: the legislative process works best when we have open and honest conversations. Unfortunately, because 80 percent of this bill is food stamp spending, the bill's very title discourages serious debate and substantive reforms. Whether we represent rural or urban districts, we do our constituents a disservice by passing bills without giving serious consideration to its content and costs."