Congressman Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) was among the 62 conservative House Republicans who voted against final passage of the Farm Bill. It failed by a vote of 195-234. An hour earlier, by a vote of 175-250, the House did not pass Rep. Huelskamp’s amendment to reform the food stamp program. That legislation would (1) require able-bodied adults to work or participate in a work activation program; (2) eliminate the Agriculture Secretary’s authority to waive work requirements; and, (3) reduce spending by an additional $10 billion through the same cuts supported by Senator Pat Roberts and Senate Republicans. Rep. Huelskamp’s amendment was co-sponsored by half a dozen GOP Members including former Agriculture Committee Chairman Goodlatte and was supported by conservative organizations such as Heritage Action for America, Citizens Against Government Waste, and National Taxpayers Union.
Congressman Huelskamp made the following statement:
“While there were some strong, positive ag and rural policies in the bill, I could not vote for a bill that locks in the massive expansion of the food stamp program and spends nearly 80 cents of every dollar on food stamps. Food stamp spending has nearly tripled since 2002. Three months ago, nearly every Republican voted for the House Republican Budget that reduces the massive food stamp program by $135 billion. I could not vote for a bill that authorizes a reform of only $20 billion. That’s only 15% of the reduction the House Republican leadership promised. It speaks volumes that more House Republicans voted for my amendment to reform food stamps than voted for the farm bill. There’s a clear path to Farm Bill passage: we must target food stamps to those who need it and transform the program through work requirements. Put another way, I am confident there’s a bill that at least 218 House Republicans can and will support. I encourage the House GOP leadership to take advantage of the best opportunity in a generation to reform the biggest means-tested welfare program we have.”