Lawmaker Pushing to Split Farm Bill Finding "A Lot of Interest" in GOP
The leader of a House GOP effort to split the $1 trillion farm bill into pieces said Monday that he is gaining confidence his effort can succeed.
Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) told Tea Party activists from Americans for Prosperity that his colleagues are rallying behind the idea.
“I am finding a lot of interest for separation of the bill,” he said.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his lieutenants are trying to find a way to pass a five-year farm bill after the Agriculture Committee’s bill failed on the House floor in a surprise 195-234 vote.
Stutzman wants funding for food stamps, which makes up 80 percent of the spending in the bill, to be split into separate legislation from traditional farm subsidies. Breaking up the bipartisan urban-rural coalition that passed the 2008 farm bill by veto-proof margins has long been a conservative goal.
Last week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) got behind the idea of splitting the bill after Stutzman pleaded with colleagues at a conference meeting to look into it. The Indiana congressman had been blocked in the Rules Committee from offering an amendment to split the bill.
“I have a lot of folks who were ‘no’ votes that told me they would support the farm bill if it was separated,” Stutzman said.
Americans for Prosperity (AFP) President Tim Phillips said his group wants deeper spending cuts than in the original farm bill, which cut about $40 billion overall, including $20.5 billion from food stamps. He said that AFP is spending “hundreds of thousands” of dollars on farm bill activism this year.