This afternoon, the House approved the rule governing debate of the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 (H.R. 1947), commonly referred to as the Farm Bill. By now, most understand the farm bill is anything but; rather, it is nearly 80 percent food stamp spending. Last year in the Wall Street Journal, Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) and Heritage Action CEO Michael A. Needham decried this "unholy Washington alliance-between rural lawmakers and their urban and suburban colleagues-[that] has caused exponential growth in spending by combining farm policy and food stamps in one huge legislative package."
Unfortunately, one of the many amendments rejected by the House Rules Committee was an amendment by Rep. Stutzman to separate the Farm Bill into agriculture and nutrition bills. On the House Floor, Rep. Stutzman said the "American people deserve an honest conversation about how Washington spends their money" and ultimately "we must have an up-or-down vote to split the Farm Bill into a true, 'farm-only' Farm Bill and a separate food stamp bill."
Although Stutzman's amendment was blocked by the Rules Committee, it is undeniable things are changing in Washington. In less than a year, an idea floated in the pages of the Wall Street Journal became a real legislative threat - so real was the threat that the Rules Committee had to block the amendment from consideration.
As Stutzman and Needham wrote, "Only by breaking this massive bill into manageable, understandable pieces can we begin to make meaningful reforms." That scares the entrenched big-government special interests, including some of the folks on the Rules Committee. Kudos to Marlin Stutzman for keeping the pressure up.