U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Urbana) spoke of the farm bill, food stamps and more at a Champaign County Farm Bureau policy development meeting Thursday.
Jordan also visited constituents in Sidney, Marysville and Marion that day. He spoke briefly and answered questions largely focused on the farm bill and its passage.
Jordan said he opposed a previous farm bill’s passage because he believed the farm bill should only focus on funding and crop insurance for agriculture. Past farm bills have included funding for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps. He said he wants to take SNAP out of the farm bill.
“The concern with the past farm bills is we always lump food stamps, the SNAP program, in with agriculture policy,” he said. “It’s a political issue in place for a number of years … combining urban interests with agriculture issues so it would pass.”
Jordan said there may be difficulties getting the farm bill passed without the SNAP funding in there, but he said he thinks it needs to be separate.
“At this point in American history where we have a $19 trillion debt, we should do things that matter and make sense. We must make sure there is some kind of basic insurance policy for people who grow and are responsible for our food supply. That to me is what the farm bill should be about,” he said. “On the SNAP side, on the food stamp side, we have to reform it to save money or we will add to that $19 trillion debt. At some point there will be a fiscal meltdown.”
Jordan said a bill he worked on was introduced last week for welfare reform, focusing on the food stamp program. He said it would introduce a work requirement for able-bodied individuals with no dependents.
“Many of you probably know that when President (Barack) Obama took office, 17 million Americans were on food stamps; now there are 47 million,” he said. “That’s a huge increase. And a significant subgroup of that population is able-bodied adults with no dependents. Our bill says you have to work if you are in that category.”
Jordan said one state chose not to follow the federal government’s work waiver program for food stamps and “saw an 80 percent reduction in that subgroup of people” on food stamps.
Jordan added there are 79 means-tested social welfare programs, but only a few include a work incentive. He said he wants to change that.
Jordan said he is concerned about the national debt and that monetary policy from the Federal Reserve has made it too easy for the government to add to that debt.
Jordan said he also wanted to “tell the truth to the American citizen” and “get back to respecting the rule of law in the constitution.”
“These are the fundamental things we need to do, that I think we don’t see much of from our current administration,” he said. “One of the things we have to do is begin to just communicate in a straightforward fashion with the American people how serious the debt is. The time frame to fix it is narrowing quickly.”
Casey S. Ellliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.