Senate Clears Huge Farm Policy Overhaul

Sens. Debbie Stabenow, Pat Roberts lead bipartisan effort
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2012 4:13 PM CDT
Senate Clears Huge Farm Policy Overhaul
Sen. Pat Roberts and Sen. Debbie Stabenow during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 6, 2012.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Senate approved a historic farm bill today that eliminates all cash payments to producers, but invests massively in food stamps and crop insurance, Politico reports. The overall bill: $1 trillion over 10 years, which means $24 billion in savings, the New York Times says. The bill was forged by the unlikely partisan duo of newcomer Debbie Stabenow and cantankerous old-timer Pat Roberts. “That’s what can happen when we break the logjam of partisanship and work together to get something done," said Roberts.

But the bill faces a harsher battle in the House, where Republicans want to cut back the food stamp program that accounts for most of the bill's spending. Representatives may preview their debate next week, when a $19.4 billion agriculture bill is slated to hit the floor. On July 11, Rep. Frank Lucas will start markup of his own farm bill. But Lucas will have to lean left and right, Politico notes, to maintain target price supports while appeasing Tea Partiers who want to beat the savings offered by the Senate. (More farm bill stories.)

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