Senate Passes $955 Billion Farm Bill, $760 Billion Set Aside for Food Stamps
The Senate approved a new farm bill on Monday that would cost $955 billion over the next ten years, voting 66-27 in favor of the agricultural measure.
A similar bill was passed in the Senate last year, though it was never voted on in the House. The current bill would cut about $24 billion from current spending levels over the next decade.
“The Senate today voted to support 16 million American jobs, to save taxpayers billions and to implement the most significant reforms to agriculture programs in decades,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the co-author of the bill.
About $760 billion of the bill’s budget would go toward the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamp program. However, $4.1 billion would be cut from the food stamp program overall — a decision championed by Republicans.
Groups fighting hunger said the bill would put millions of poor families at risk.
The bill would also cover crop insurance providing a total of $12 billion for deductibles and coverage for failed crops.
The Heritage Foundation, a conservative group, criticized the bill, which it said was more like a farmer income support program than a safety net.
Additionally, the budget would include $58 billion for conservation measures and $3.6 billion promoting U.S. crops overseas.
The Obama administration had called for an overhauling of the $1 billion international food program and hopes to buy food locally in less-developed countries rather than in the United States. However, the Senate rejected the proposal.
The agricultural industry generally praised the bill, while environmentalists felt the bill lacked important changes in conservation programs.