Stutzman’s Split Passes the House – Open Item
Yesterday the House passed a Farm Bill that did not include nutrition provisions. We have covered Congressman Marlin Stutzman‘s (R-Howe) intensified efforts to split the bill over the past weeks. After passage Rep. Stutzman’s office released this statement:
Transparent government won an important victory today. Conservatives seized an opportunity to split the Farm Bill, a landmark reform that breaks the unholy alliance between food stamps and agriculture policy. For the first time since the 1970’s taxpayers will have an honest look at how Washington spends their money on agriculture and food stamp policy.
As a fourth-generation farmer, I am proud of my work to pass the first true, farm-only farm bill in more than four decades. This is just the first of many reforms and I look forward to working with my colleagues to continue reducing the size of a government that has driven taxpayers nearly $17 trillion in debt.
Passage of the legislation and Rep. Stutzman’s efforts are getting coverage all across the media spectrum. The major challenge facing his reform efforts is now the Senate. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has already indicated they have no plans to consider a Farm Bill that does not include the nutrition programs and President Barack Obama has indicated he would veto any legislation if it were to come to his desk. That said, it wasn’t that long ago leadership in the House of Representatives was saying the exact same thing. Stay tuned for future developments!
Some great economic news for the state also came out yesterday. Tom LoBianco, Indiana’s Associated Press reporter, covered Governor Mike Pence’s (R) press conference regarding the state budget outlook. Indiana’s surplus came in almost $100 million higher than was projected in the state’s budget bill for this fiscal year, resulting in $86 million more in cash reserves. Outgoing State Auditor Tim Berry was on hand to present the numbers with Gov. Pence.
In addition to a sound fiscal picture for the state government, the general economy in Indiana is getting high marks. MSN Money published a list of the ten fastest growing state economies produced by Alexander E. M. Hess and Michael Sauter of 24/7 Wall St. Indiana made their top 10 list. According to their report Indiana’s drop in gross domestic product in 2009 was one of the largest in the nation. Since then we’ve bounced back significantly, consistently posting one of the stronger rates of growth in the country. Hess and Sauter note that the principal source of growth in the state economy has been in manufacturing, which makes the point regarding economic development strategy addressed in yesterday’s Open Item all the more compelling.
Our federal legislators are hard at work trying to get more of the Obamacare mandates repealed in the wake of the one-year delay the administration has already put in place. Congressman Todd Young (R-Bloomington) has submitted a bill that would delay the individual mandate by one year. Also, Senator Dan Coats (R) offered an amendment to the Labor – Health and Human Services Appropriations Bill that would defund Obamacare should the administration fail to get the exchanges set up in time. Generating legislation that defunds or delays implementation on Obamacare has become almost a cottage industry for our Congressional delegation, it is almost certain we will continue to see votes in some form or fashion on these concepts, but it’s not clear whether or not they’ll actually have any influence on President Obama or his team. That said, we’ve already seen one delay, it’s not inconceiviable we may see more.
Finally, our Tweet of the Week nominees will be revealed in just a few hours. We had some spirited voting for a holiday weekend last week, we’re looking forward to seeing who you think should be the victor this week.