Farm Bill Gets the Votes for Passage in Senate
The Senate voted 64 to 35 in favor of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 Thursday. The bipartisan bill received broad bipartisan support. According to Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow - the bill will save taxpayers more than 23-billion dollars by eliminating unnecessary subsidies, consolidating programs to end duplication and confronting misuse in food assistance programs. Stabenow says this farm bill is the most significant reform of American agriculture policy in decades. Among other things - she says the legislation eliminates direct payments while strengthening risk management, improves program integrity and accountability and grows America's agricultural economy.
Senate Ag Committee member Mike Johanns of Nebraska says the bill is reform-minded and market-oriented. He notes direct payments; countercyclical payments; the Average Crop Revenue Election Program - ACRE; and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program - SURE are eliminated. Johanns points out that the bill tightens payment limits and ensures those who receive government assistance are actively engaged in farming.
Iowa's Chuck Grassley - also a member of the Agriculture Committee - says the farm and nutrition bill is the only piece of legislation passing Congress this year that will save 23-billion dollars. He says the lion's share of that savings comes from farm commodity programs. Grassley notes 80-percent of the cost of the bill is for nutrition spending. He believes more should be done in that area to help shrink the budget deficit. According to Grassley - the ag portion of the farm bill approved by the Senate recognizes the value of American farmers in providing a safe and stable food supply. Grassley especially appreciated the support for reforms to strengthen farm programs with effective payment limits.
Not all members of the Ag Committee were happy with the final bill. Republicans John Boozman of Arkansas, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Thad Cochran of Mississippi and Mitch McConnell of Kentucky voted against the bill's final passage.
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