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Senators At Odds on Food Stamps in the Farm Bill

The U.S. House passed the farm bill Thursday without including food stamp funding.  Now, Indiana’s U.S. Senators are split on whether the assistance program should remain out of the bill.

House Republicans narrowly pushed through the farm bill after stripping out food stamp funding, which has been tied to farm bills for decades. 

Republican Senator Dan Coats – who voted for the farm bill when it passed the Senate last month – says he approves of the decision by House Republicans to leave food stamps separate.

“I think it’s created problems to the point where we ought to identify both of these as essential programs that have to be addressed,” Coats said. “I don’t believe they need to be tied together.”

Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly says food stamps have long been a part of the farm bill as a way to gather support from both rural and urban representatives. And he says he doesn’t see a way to get the farm bill passed without food stamps.

“In the House’s version, we have no plan to be able to provide a single lunch to a needy child and I don’t see how that passes,” Donnelly said.

Donnelly says his biggest concern is the fact that House Republicans don’t seem to have any plan for food stamp funding, even in separate legislation.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.