Wrong. The bill is expected to take up Senate time for the entire month of June. And House Farm Bill legislation – if drafts are ever actually brought to the floor – is expected to be even more contentious.
The draft Senate bill is full of controversial issues. SomeDemocrats object to the legislation’s cuts to SNAP benefits, commonly referred to as Food Stamps, but the cuts aren’t near to what budget hawk House Republicans want. Conservation programs, international trade, jobs, budget cuts – you name it, the Farm Bill will most likely affect it.
Many farmers say the federal crop insurance program is crucial and this legislation preserves it, in spite of criticisms of the program’s cost. Back in March, a group of farmers lobbied Congress hard for the program. Direct payments, however, are out in this version.
Regional agriculture differences will be under the microscope as legislators jockey for Farm Bill position. Some Southern lawmakers say the draft bill isn’t kind to farmers in their districts. They say the bill favors Midwest wheat and corn farmers, but doesn’t work for Southern rice and peanut interests.
The Farm Bill is massive. The Senate’s draft contains $969 billion in spending, making it a prime target for cuts by legislators looking to slash the deficit. Still, the bill is a $23.6 billion cut compared to what it would cost to extend current programs, according to The Hill.