Food stamps, crop subsidies among Senate farm bill amendments

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Proposals to avert bigger cuts in food stamps and reduce certain crop subsidies are among more than 70 amendments the U.S. Senate will consider this week to a massive farm bill.

Senate leaders struck a bipartisan deal late on Monday to clear the way for debate and votes on the stalled legislation beginning on Tuesday, a Democratic aide said.

The U.S. farm law covers everything from food stamps to crop subsidies to soil erosion - and several other hot-button issues in an election year.

Negotiators in the Democratic-led Senate whittled the number of amendments in the 10-year bill from roughly 300 to 73.

A number of amendments are meant to put lawmakers on the record on hot-button spending issues in an election year. They include debt reduction, funding for food stamps, support for subsidies and pushing spending back to 2008 levels.

One unrelated, politically charged proposal by Republican Marco Rubio of Florida would allow businesses to give merit-based raises and bonuses to union workers without first getting the consent of labor leaders.

Democrats assert Republicans are waging war on unions, while supporters of Rubio's proposal and others like it say some unions are too powerful and have, in certain cases, infringed on the rights of business.

Analysts say the odds are slim Congress will enact a new farm law before the current one expires on Sept. 30. Election-year and budget-cutting pressures have slowed action.

The Senate bill as written would cut $4 billion from the food stamp program but Republicans want larger reductions.

The Senate also would cut crop subsidies by $13 billion over 10 years and environmental conservation by $6 billion. (Reporting by John Crawley and Charles Abbott; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)



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michael    
kansas  |  June, 20, 2012 at 09:44 AM

When will we see Food Stamps, School Lunch Programs, and WIC removed from the Dept. of AGRICULTURE and it's budget? Past time to make some serious changes. Advocates, where are you?

maxine    
SD  |  June, 21, 2012 at 08:53 PM

Michael, be careful what you wish for! How do you think ANY Farm Bill could get through Congress if there was a separate bill for the food programs, etc.? I believe our best solution is to keep the two together, but make it very clear, and publish frequently the fact that those 'feeding' programs use at least 80% of the total USDA budget, while actual farm programs are a pittance by comparison. Really much more detail about that (and all other department budgets) needs to be publicized. What percentage is eaten up by overhead, for instance, for pensions, and surely other 'money pit' items I've not thought of exist at USDA and all other federal departments. In these times of dangerous debt levels, they deserve minute scrutiny and broad cuts.

Brad    
Sd  |  July, 12, 2013 at 11:11 AM

What they need to change is the way the food stamps are issued. With the card it is so a bused and huge balances are swapped and traded for none food items???

rick thornburg    
missouri  |  August, 01, 2013 at 10:45 PM

I thought food stamps were used to buy food and farmers sell food crops and livestock to be sold for food so what do the republicans have against farmers ????


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