US Rep. Davis Supports Cuts to Food Stamp Program
By Sean Powers, with additional reporting from The Associated Press
Republican Congressman Rodney Davis of Taylorville says he supports cuts to the food stamp program in the new federal farm bill.
Davis serves on House Agriculture Committee, which began marking up the bill on Wednesday.
The legislation includes about $2.5 billion a year in cuts to the federal food stamp program. Last year more than 47 million people used the food stamp program with the cost more than doubling since 2008.
Congressman Davis said overspending by the federal government means cuts need to be made in many places.
“Statistics from the federal government show we actually have less people in poverty now than we had in 2008,” he said. “I think what we need to do is give more flexibility to locals in Illinois to ensure those who are unemployed get the training that they need to fill the jobs that are available, so that they don’t need food stamps.”
Census bureau estimates show that the federal poverty rate is 15 percent, which is about 2 percent higher from 2008 to 2011. Illinois’ poverty rate is slightly lower than the national average.
During Wednesday’s committee hearing, Davis also introduced an amendment to give the U.S. Department of Agriculture more say in any changes introduced by the Environmental Protection Agency that affect agriculture.
Davis said the proposal requires the USDA and EPA to form a review panel where recommendations and advice from farmers would be considered.
“We need USDA at the table,” he said. “This is the agency that has the expertise and relationship within the farm community. We have seen more and more regulations come out of EPA that affect on-farm operations, and it’s time these two agencies begin to work more closely.”
The Farm Bill costs almost $100 billion annually and would set policy for farmsubsidies, rural programs and the food aid. The House panel began considering the legislation just a day after the Senate Agriculture Committee approved its version
The United States House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture will mark up the 2013 version of the farm bill today in Washington, D.C. (May 15). Last night ranking member of the committee Collin Peterson spoke about the bill and the mark up with farm broadcasters. The University of Illinois Extension's Todd Gleason was among them and files this report. It begins the way the evening event started with Peterson and his band the "Second Amendments" entertaining members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting: