The United States Senate began debating the Farm Bill two days ago, and AP reports that earlier this afternoon the Senate passed the five-year farm policy bill. Next up, the House of Representatives.
The bill passed the Senate with bipartisan support, with a vote of 64 to 35.
Amendments that passed include a cut of $23.6 billion from current spending levels, The New York Times reports. That includes cutting $4.5 billion from food stamps, a hot topic that had plenty of SNAP supporters worried (the cut would reportedly give a family $90 less a month).
Eighty percent of Farm Bill spending is sent towards the SNAP food stamp program, roughly $80 billion a year. Food stamp spending has increased (more than doubled, the AP reports) in the past five years, with recipients growing from 20 million to 46 million.
As for crop insurance, the bill eliminates $5 billion a year for direct payments to farmers and farmland owners, which was given whether or not they planted crops. This means that farmers only have the subsidized crop insurance programs to fall back on, costing the government $9 billion a year.
The Farm Bill is going to the House of Representatives next, where work on the bill will reportedly begin July 11.