There was one thing both Senate Republicans and Democrats could agree on – the Farm Bill. With overwhelming bipartisan support (a vote of 64 to 35), the bill passed the Senate and is now headed to Congress, where apparently it will face tougher opposition.
80% of the bill’s spending is on the SNAP program, or food stamps, with plans to cut $4.5 billion from the program over the next 10 years. This a ton of money cut from a program that is serving 46 million Americans, but less than some of the cuts proposed. And where are savings from the food stamp program coming from? Changes that include banning lottery winners from getting assistance. Seriously? That hasn’t already been taken care of?
The other approx. $19 billion in cuts go towards programs for farmers. The bill makes significant changes to some farm programs and eliminates or consolidates others, it leaves in place several Depression-era programs like supports for American sugar growers that set prices and limit imports. The bill eliminates about $5 billion a year in direct payments that have been given to farmers and farmland owners, whether or not they grew crops. This means that farmers only have the subsidized crop insurance programs to fall back on, that cost the government $9 billion a year. Right now, the government subsidizes about 62 percent of the crop insurance premiums, and the policies typically guarantee 75 percent to 85 percent of a farmer’s revenue.