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Thu June 21, 2012
U.S. Senate passes farm bill, Missouri senators both on board
The U.S. Senate passed a new half-trillion dollar farm bill today, funding programs from farm subsidies to food stamps for the next five years. Both of Missouri's senators voted yes on the bipartisan bill.
The bill that cleared the Senate would eliminate a $5 billion-dollar-a-year program providing direct subsidy payments to farmers. Instead, it would shift federal farm subsidies toward supporting crop insurance.
Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri applauded the bill's passage, saying it would help reduce the federal deficit, while still supporting Missouri’s number one industry:
"This bill cuts $23 billion in spending that would occur under the current farm bill, and that’s a lot of money even in Washington D.C., at a time we oughta be looking for places to cut spending."
Missouri's Democratic Senator, Claire McCaskill, also voted in favor of the bill. She was the only Democrat to vote for a failed amendment earlier this week that would have made food stamp eligibility requirements more rigorous by requiring an asset test to qualify.
"The food stamp program needs to be a temporary program. It needs to be robust, but it also needs to be carefully drawn, so it is impacting the truly needy, and not people who are just looking for a cushion.
The final Senate bill would cut funding to food stamps by $4 billion. The House is expected to take up its version of the bill in coming weeks – that bill could include even deeper cuts to food stamps.