WASHINGTON -- The Agriculture Department temporarily suspended farm price support payments Friday as the department's Commodity Credit Corp. ran out of funds.
Payments will resume when Congress takes final action on an urgent $9.3 billion spending bill, of which $6.7 bilion is to replenish CCC coffers.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the spending bill Friday. The full Senate is expected to act next week. The House cleared the bill April 23.
Also, the Senate panel, by an 11-9 vote, defeated an attempt by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, to speed up payments of corn and other feed grain subsidies, which are scheduled to be made after the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.
Grassley's measure would have unraveled an accounting device lawmakers used earlier to make it appear they were trimming spending for this fiscal year.
Speeding up subsidies by paying them this summer would add $2.77 billion to fiscal 1987 spending and subtract that amount from fiscal 1988.
Wheat payments have been speeded up, but the budget impact was minimal because there was no shift from one fiscal year to another.
'Since we have already made the change for wheat, we should also make the same change for feed grains,' Grassley said. 'The fairness of it can't be questioned.'
Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., of the Senate Agriculture Committee opposed the Grassley provision. He also had successfully kept it off of a wheat disaster bill tht recently passed the Senate.
Leahy said that since most of the urgent spending bill was for agriculture, seeking $10 billion for agriculture was just too much.
Informed that the Reagan administration opposed speeding up subsidies, Grassley said, 'That's not the George Bush I hear coming out of Iowa,' an important early 1988 presidential caucus state.
Vern Neppl, acting executive vice president of the CCC, said Friday's action to cut off farm spending temporarily halts price support loans, direct subsidies, dairy price support purchases, payments to dairy farmers going out of business, storage payments to warehouses and farmers and payments to farmers idling highly erodible land.
In another action, the CCC said price support loans this month will have an interest rate of 6.25 percent.
The increase from 6 percent in April reflects the interest rate charged the CCC by the U.S. Treasury.