Farm bill deal would cut food stamps by 1 percent
Washington • Farm-state lawmakers are lobbying colleagues member by member, vote by vote as they push for House passage of a massive, five-year farm bill that would make cuts to food stamps and continue generous subsidies for farmers.
There are goodies scattered through the almost 1,000-page bill for members from all regions of the country: a boost in money for crop insurance popular in the Midwest; higher rice and peanut subsidies for Southern farmers; renewal of federal land payments for Western states. There are cuts to the food stamp program $800 million a year, or around 1 percent for Republicans who say the program is spending too much money, but they are low enough that some Democrats will support them.
Negotiators on the final deal also left out a repeal of a catfish program that would have angered Mississippi lawmakers and language that would have thwarted a California law requiring all eggs sold in the state to come from hens living in larger cages. Striking out that provision was a priority for California lawmakers.
The House is scheduled to consider the legislation Wednesday. Passage of the bill, which would spend almost $100 billion a year and save around $2.3 billion annually, isn't certain. But farm-state lawmakers have worked for more than two years to strike just the right balance to get the massive bill passed.