Draft farm bill would cut spending $35B

July 6, 2012 at 12:43 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, July 6 (UPI) -- A draft farm bill from the U.S. House Agriculture Committee would cut direct spending $35 billion -- about $11 billion more than a bill passed by the Senate.

The Hill reported the draft bill would, in addition to affecting payments to farmers, reduce spending for food stamps by more than $16 billion, compared with $4 billion in the Senate version.

The reduced spending would result largely from eligibility rules that would require recipients to receive welfare to automatically qualify for food stamps and eliminate a loophole allowing states to register people for heating assistance to qualify them for food stamps.

The draft measure would eliminate direct payment for farmers, as would the Senate bill. The program has come under criticism because former farmers can continue to receive payments based on historic production levels even though they're no longer farming.

In the crop insurance program, the draft House version would require farmers to have a 15 percent loss to meet the deductible, compared with a 10 percent loss in the Senate bill.

The draft version has received the backing of House Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn.

"I'm pleased to release this bipartisan legislation with my friend and colleague Collin Peterson. Our efforts over the past two years have resulted in reform-minded, fiscally responsible policy that is equitable for farmers and ranchers in all regions and will lead to improved program delivery," Lucas said in a news release.

The current farm bill expires Sept. 30.

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