The long-awaited farm bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday, Jan. 29, with the five-year agreement now moving to the Senate for approval.
Many are calling the nearly $1 trillion farm bill, called the Agriculture Act of 2014, a compromise, with support and opposition coming from both ends of the political spectrum.
“The conference report is a true compromise, and I am pleased to have certainty for all Americans,” says National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson. “The farm bill has always been a bipartisan effort, and for that I am thankful.”
The biggest opposition came over spending cuts, with some concerned the cuts to food stamps were too severe while others felt the bill doesn’t rein in government spending far enough. The bill cuts $8 billion from food stamps, now known as Supplemental Food Assistance Program. It is expected to reduce federal spending by $16 billion over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
If unchanged in the Senate, the bill will end direct government payments to farmers, but would still subsidize major crops like corn, soybeans and wheat.
“There are reforms in the bill that will help save money, reduce the deficit, but really provide for a strong and defensible safety net that is focused on crop insurance,” said Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack.
The Senate is expected to vote on the bill by Friday; then it will go to President Barack Obama to sign.
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