Coats Explains Position On Farm Bill

By Jeff Neumeyer

August 23, 2012 Updated Aug 23, 2012 at 6:23 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- He says it may not be in a perfect form, but U.S. Senator Dan Coats believes passage of the 2012 Farm Bill is a must to protect Hoosier farmers.

Coats was in Fort Wayne Thursday to discuss his stance on that and other issues.

Coats and Congressman Marlin Stutzman differ on the Farm Bill controversy.

Stutzman, Indiana’s 3rd District representative on Capitol Hill, opposes the Farm Bill, in large part, because it includes money for the costly food stamp program, which he says will soon drain even more cash from the federal budget.

It's not too often that the two Republican politicians from Northeast Indiana would come down on different sides of such a major issue.

Coats wanted to see the end of federal subsidies for sugar in the Farm Bill, but says even when that idea was shot down, he still voted for the bill, to ensure farmers have a broad safety net in the event of natural disaster.

"It provides some disaster relief for farmers that they desperately need, given this drought, and so I didn't want to kill the process," Coats said.

Coats favors major cost cutting to accomplish debt relief, but he argues something needs to be done to head off drastic military spending cuts, that he believes would clobber this region’s defense contractors.

Coats says the possibility of adding a half-trillion dollars in military cuts to another half-trillion in cuts already planned could jeopardize national security as well as trigger painful job losses in our area.

Coats, like many Republicans, is looking forward to next week’s scheduled GOP National Convention in Tampa Florida.

Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney and his Vice-Presidential running mate Paul Ryan will take center stage at the event.

Fort Wayne Republican Ric Runestad wrote an editorial in the News-Sentinel, questioning Ryan’s conservative credentials.

Coats says the criticism is misguided, claiming Ryan has shown tremendous courage in laying out specific plans to reduce the national debt.

Runestad attacks Ryan for supporting, among other things, the TARP bailout, No Child Left Behind, and for endorsing increases in the debt ceiling.

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