Farm Bill Passed in Senate
On Thursday, the Senate approved a new farm bill that will cost over $1 trillion over the next decade, financing price support and programs for crop insurance for farmers and for food assistance for families with low incomes. The bill was passed thanks to bipartisan support. The final vote was 64-35 and the bill now is headed to the House, where it will have a much tougher time because of lawmakers who are conservative and want deeper cuts made in food stamp programs, which help feed over 45 million Americans.
In the bill, there is significant reform Debbie Stabenow, the Michigan Senator said. Stabenow is the Senate Agriculture Committee chairwoman and she said the bill cuts a number of subsidies, it cuts into the deficit and it helps create jobs.
Even though the bill is referred to as the farm bill, most of the spending or about $80 billion per year is for the food stamp program. The bill from the Senate cuts about $23.6 billion from spending levels currently, including cutting $4.5 billion out of the food stamp program, but proposals to cut more from the food stamps program were met with rejections.
Most of the savings in the food stamps program will be from banning lottery winners from being eligible for assistance among other new measures. Agricultural Committee chairman Frank Lucas in the House, an Oklahoma Republican said the House would begin work on the farm bill on July 11. He said that during next week, the members of the committee were working on a spending bill and then Congress will recess to observe Independence holiday week.
Lucas said that there will be difference from the approach the Senate took and the House’s, but he hopes his colleagues are pleased with the success the bill had in the Senate, when the committee sits down on the 11th to ponder their own legislation.