Photo: Humberto Moreno (flickr)
Signs Of A Thaw
This time, it just might stick.
After two years of brinkmanship and deadlock, farm bill negotiators announced on Monday that they had finally reached a compromise that both parties could live with.
The bill cuts direct subsidy payments to farmers and $9 billion from the food stamp program over the next decade.
The cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in the plan fall far short of the $39 billion Republicans proposed previously.
There’s no guarantee the House will approve the $1 trillion bill when it comes up for a vote later this week, but the four negotiators were confident it would pass. The Senate would take it up before its next break in February.
“Today’s bipartisan agreement brings us closer than ever to enacting a five-year Farm Bill that saves taxpayers billions, eliminates unnecessary subsidies, and helps farmers and business owners create jobs,” said Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow in a press release on Monday.
Anti-hunger advocates are not impressed.
A cut in food stamp payments went into effect in November that slashed $29 per month for a family of three. The farm bill proposal would cut 1 percent from the SNAP budget, reducing monthly benefits by $90 for about 850,000 households.
Massachusetts Representative Jim McGovern told the Wall Street Journal he would vote against the bill, saying he would not approve a measure that would “make hunger worse in America.”
Negotiators said the bill would achieve food stamp savings by shrinking payments but not by removing anyone from the program.
Oh, and the bill also heads off a milk-pocalypse that would have sent subsidies back in time and doubled the price to about $7 per gallon.