Some senators seek more cuts in U.S. farm subsidies

May 25, 2013 at 6:54 PM

WASHINGTON, May 25 (UPI) -- Some U.S. senators hope to cut even more from the $955 billion farm bill before it comes up for a floor vote.

The Senate approved an amendment Thursday that cut farm subsidies for people with incomes of $750,000 a year or more, The Hill reported. The change, which passed 59-33, is expected to save $1 billion during the life of the bill.

A bipartisan quartet, Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Pat Toomey, R-Pa., Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Jean Shaheen, D-N.H., are pushing for more cuts. On the other side, Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., who heads the Agriculture Committee, and Thad Cochran of Mississippi, the ranking Republican, are pushing to limit amendments.

Toomey and Shaheen have proposed limiting crop insurance premium subsidies to $50,000 per crop per year. They say that would save $3.6 billion.

Flake wants to end the current system of allowing farmers to choose between the estimated price of a crop at planting and the actual price at planting when they get insurance payouts -- letting them select the one that gives them the most money. He says that would save more than $7 billion.

McCaskill and Flake have also introduced an amendment to allow the government to renegotiate on reinsurance. And Flake wants the names of those who receive farm subsidies to become public record.

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