JOPLIN, Mo. —
U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, is circulating the equivalent of an online petition aimed at urging the six House Republicans from Missouri to vote for a Senate version of the farm bill that includes funding for food stamps.
U.S. Reps. Emanuel Cleaver and William Lacy Clay, Missouri’s lone Democrats in the House, voted last month to keep and fund the food stamp program as part of the farm bill.
Republican Reps. Billy Long, Sam Graves, Vicky Hartzler, Jason Smith, Ann Wagner and Blaine Luetkemeyer all voted with others in the GOP majority when the House passed a measure that would eliminate food stamp funding, which has been a long-standing part of the farm bill.
Long, of Springfield, said food stamps should never have been a part of the measure.
“We need to reform the food stamp program by closing loopholes that are abused to improperly access benefits to the detriment of those truly in need of help,” Long said.
McCaskill called the vote “unprecedented” and blamed Republican leadership on the issue that she said “is hurting our farmers and ranchers, Missouri’s economic health and those throughout the country who depend on food stamps for basic nutrition.”
She said the Senate passed a bipartisan farm bill “that cut the deficit while maintaining resources for farming and crucial support for struggling families.”
She is circulating an email with an online tool that can be used to automatically deliver a message to members of Congress calling on them to pass the Senate farm bill with money for food stamps.
In Missouri, nearly 440,000 families use the program.
House run considered
Though it’s far from an official announcement, Carthage attorney Greg Payne is telling some local Republicans that he is considering a run for the U.S. House seat currently held by Rep. Billy Long.
Payne is expressing his interest in a potential campaign in 2014 in emails to party members and on a recently created Facebook page.
He acknowledges that a challenge to the incumbent would be an uphill battle, but he also notes the long service of another area resident — U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor of Sarcoxie. As for the importance of political experience, he cites a quote attributed to Long that there is “enough political experience in Washington, D.C., to choke a horse.”
Payne received his law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and attended Missouri Southern State University and McAuley Catholic High School.