Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

July 22, 2013

BRIAN HOWEY: New districts change congressional rhetoric, behavior

Statehouse pushed most minorities into 3 districts in 2011.

(Continued)

While Walorski said she wasn’t surprised by her 4,000-vote victory, many observers, including this one, didn’t expect a close race. The newly drawn district had prompted Donnelly to jump into the U.S. Senate race.

When it comes to 2014, most see Stutzman easily winning a third term. And Walorski? Mullen has taken a pass on a rematch.

This nuanced difference between the two was revealed by last month’s vote on the farm bill.

Walorski joined most of Indiana’s Republican congressional delegation in voting for the original farm bill.

Stutzman joined Democrat Reps. Pete Visclosky and Andre Carson in voting against the measure that was defeated 234-195, with Stutzman joining 62 Republicans in voting no because he wanted to separate the farm subsidies from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or food stamps).

They did so for very different reasons.

Carson called the bill “an affront to the character of this nation,” adding, “This bill failed today because it would irresponsibly cut $20 billion from the SNAP program, shutting down food aid for nearly 2 million Americans and removing over 210,000 children from free school lunch and breakfast.”

Stutzman reasoned, “Hoosiers sent me here to change the way Washington works and I’m pleased that my colleagues have joined me in rejecting the old path of business as usual.”

The entire Republican delegation backed the second effort to split the farm bill.

Stutzman explained, “As a fourth-generation farmer, I know firsthand how important the farm bill is for farmers but I also know that farm policy and food stamp policy are different.”

Stutzman explained, “This is not about taking food away from children or people who are in need. This is about a delivery system. And the delivery system that we have in the food stamp program is an expensive one. We’re seeing abuse from top to bottom.”

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