Senate to Vote on Farm Bill Amendments Today

Republicans are hoping to cut more from the food stamp program

The United States Senate is voting on the new Farm Bill today, going throught the amendments one by one, which affect not only food policy and agriculture, but also food stamp programs and nutrition education.

Some changes that are on the table include a cut of $4 billion to the food stamp program, although reportedly Republican senators are looking for higher cuts. The current amendment would allot $90 less to each standard household receiving food stamp aid.

Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and others are resisting the cuts by proposing a trim of $250 million a year.

Even Senate candidates are getting in on the debate, with Eric Hovde, Senate hopeful making the news for asking the press not to write sob stories about food stamp families. "Stop always writing about, 'Oh, the person couldn't get, you know, their food stamps or this or that.' You know, I saw something the other day — it's like, another sob story, and I'm like, 'But what about what's happening to the country and the country as a whole?' That's going to devastate everybody," he said.

Also in the farm bill discussions: another amendment proposes a cut of $13 billion over 10 years in crop subsidies, and a cut in environmental conservation by $6 billion.

Finally, Reuters reports that an unrelated proposal tacked onto the bill from Republican Marco Rubio of Florida would allow merit-based raises and bonuses to union workers without the consent of labor leaders.

While opponents of the latter proposal say this will undercut the value of unions and their power, proponent say that unions already have too much power. 

If you're late to the game, here's a primer on why you should care about the farm bill.