The bipartisan trillion dollar farm bill passed the Senate today. Ok, so I exaggerated, it’s “only” $956 billion, $756 billion is for food stamps.
The farm bill sets in motion policies expected to cost $956 billion over 10 years, less than it would have cost if the 2008 law was extended. Nutritional assistance accounts for $756 billion of the bill’s cost.
The legislation is expected to reduce the federal budget deficit by $16.6 billion over a decade, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Critics of the bill have argued the legislation could end up being more expensive than expected, since the new support programs are more sensitive to weather and market conditions than the fixed sum meted out under direct payments.
Some conservative lawmakers balked at both the government support offered to farmers and the bill’s cuts to food-stamp funding, which were more modest than some Republicans wanted. Sen. Mike Lee (R., Utah) called the bill a “Beltway marriage of convenience between welfare and corporate welfare” on the Senate floor.
The GOP-controlled House had previously passed legislation cutting nearly $40 billion over 10 years from nutrition programs.
The final bill cuts around $8 billion from food-stamp funding largely by increasing the level of federal heating assistance required to trigger higher benefits among some recipients. (Read More)
The Washington Examiner this morning pointed out how this is a perfect example of what’s wrong with Washington, DC. This is what we get when Republicans and Democrats work together.
The conventional wisdom inside the Beltway is that the farm bill shows it remains possible for the Democratic Senate and Republican House to put their profound differences aside and compromise in order to move important legislation. On closer inspection, however, it’s business-as-usual in Washington, with Republican conference committee negotiators collapsing like an old sports stadium being dynamited by a demolition team.