Political notebook: Rep. Valadao breaks with GOP over food stamp program cuts

The Fresno BeeSeptember 20, 2013 

Rep. David Valadao

COURTESY PHOTO — Courtesy photo

San Joaquin Valley House Republicans split, just a little bit, over a controversial bill passed Thursday night that would cut an estimated $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Freshman Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, was one of only 15 House Republicans to vote against the measure, which was unanimously opposed by House Democrats. All other Valley Republicans voted for the nutrition program cuts, which passed on a 217-210 margin.

"The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Benefits Program is extremely important to my constituents in the Central Valley. Without this assistance, many in my district would be unable to feed their families," Valadao stated.

Valadao will be targeted by Democrats for the 2014 election, so votes like this one can get special consideration.

The nutrition program funding usually is part of an overall farm bill, but House Republicans have split the two measures. Senate Democrats already have made clear they won't go along with the level of cuts sought by most House Republicans.

— Michael Doyle

Vote clears way for salvage logging of timber in Rim fire area

The House of Representatives on Friday approved a measure designed to ease the salvage logging of timber from the devastating Rim fire area.

By a mostly party line 243-172 vote, the Republican-controlled House approved the amendment authored by Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Granite Bay. The provision, added to a larger forest management bill, is supposed to streamline logging by waiving judicial review of salvage plans for 2013 fires.

The Rim fire burned more than 250,000 acres in and around Yosemite National Park, with McClintock saying that an estimated 1 billion board feet of timber could be salvaged from the area.

Republican Rep. Jeff Denham of Turlock added sidestepping judicial review will help because "the permitting process is typically fraught with problems, lawsuits, delays and frustrations."

The underlying forest management bill faces an uncertain future, as House Democrats say it would "dramatically alter the management of our national forests, and undermine the multiuse mission of our public lands."

— Michael Doyle


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