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.