Farm bill ends subsidies, cuts food stamps

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WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) — A group of bipartisan lawmakers on Monday agreed to a deal on a farm bill that would end direct subsidies to farms in favor of crop insurance.

The deal could trim as much as $90 a month from food stamps for 850,000 recipients.

The farm bill would last five years and needs to pass both chambers and then be signed by the president.

The bill could be passed before the spring planting season. That’s significant because farmers need to know early how it might affect prices and what to expect for their corn, wheat or tobacco yields.

The bill changes the current agricultural subsidy system. It ends direct payments to farmers for planting crops and replaces it with a revamped, beefed-up crop insurance program.

“Today’s bipartisan agreement puts us on the verge of enacting a five-year Farm Bill that saves taxpayers billions, eliminates unnecessary subsidies, creates a more effective farm safety-net and helps farmers and businesses create jobs,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat who chairs the Senate agriculture panel.

The changes to food stamps would trim $8 billion from the program over the next 10 years, according to congressional aides. That’s less than the $39 billion that Republicans had wanted to cut from the program, but double what Democrats had suggested.

Lawmakers say the deal will prevent 17 states from doling out more generous food stamps to people who get federal help to heat or cool their homes, even if the help is as little as $1. They stress the move won’t cut families from food stamps, it will just shrink the amount some families get.

Advocates for the poor are irate. The newly-proposed reductions come just months after the $11 cut from food stamp checks that went into effect on Nov. 1, when the recession-era boost in funding ended.

Since then, food pantries have reported larger crowds, as families exhaust their allotment before the month ends.

Currently, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the official name for food stamps, feeds 47 million people.

Meanwhile, the bill ensures that the federal government will avoid re-implementing a 1940s era subsidy program that could have caused the price of milk to double to $7 a gallon from the current national average of $3.50.

9 comments

  • Wizard of OZ

    My church collected food for poor families at Thanksgiving. When we delivered it, I never entered a home that didn’t have a big screen TV, and the heat set higher than I can afford to set mine! These are bogus programs without proper oversight!

      • Gimme

        You must be one of the “needy” ones trying to defend your position to make a comment like that. I didn’t read that comment as “passing judgement”….I read it as “matter of fact”.

      • Tim

        @Gimme, I guarantee with my and my wife’s salaries, I am taxed enough that I pay a great deal of your bills too, so needy? Not quite. Compassionate and non-judgmental? Absolutely.

    • IMO

      The people on welfare are living better than the people who actually work for a living. That’s why you are seeing what you’re seeing. Their kids are dressed in designer clothes, they have the latest I-Pod’s and Kindles, big screen t.v’s, etc, and yet they are considered needy. I’m sorry, but I was raised to work for a living and buy the necessities…food, shelter, clothing, and anything else left over could go for incidentals. The trend is changing as more people rely on handouts on a regular basis. It’s a bunch of krap! Too many loopholes and room for abuse to the system. They need to personally go into these people’s homes and see how much “in need” they are. Everyone wants something for nothing these days. If you are holding out your hand (like the Government is), of COURSE there will be someone willing to take it, whether they need it or not. And if they raised the minimum wage to an actual living wage, say at least $16.00 an hour, more people WOULD be out there working and it would eliminate the need for Government assistance. People would make more, spend more, and the economy would get going again. Crime would go down too, as more people would be working staying out of trouble, and able to afford stuff. There would be plenty of fast food restaurant and gas station jobs to apply for that would actually be worth working at for $16.00 an hour. Since most of our industrial and manufacturing jobs left the country, it seems like the logical thing to do.

      • Maureen

        Very well stated IMO! I would like to add few comments regarding the fast food industry. All Americans must be able to earn a living wage, as long as they’re working 40 hours, in order for our economy to be healthy and our nation to prosper. And so what would that mean for the cost of a hamburger? Simply put, the prices will go up, business will go down, they will be forced to provide a quality product to bring business back up or go out of business. No more fast food – a win-win for America! No more fast food equals cost of healthcare dramatically drops, once again saving huge amounts for Americans. And what does this mean for the health care industry? Sayonara! Again win-win. And as far as the crop subsidies disappearing, once again win-win. America’s real health and wealth problems began when they did. It’s so nice to see Washington taking a step in the right direction for a change!

  • Josh

    Start drug testing people people that get food stamps most just sit around smoking pot and doing other drugs and stuffing ther fat faces I have a family of 4 we 119.00 I work 2 jobs one to march to feb and other one is 15 hour’s a week I don’t have no big tv come to my house it’s empty all money I make goes kids and bills doing drug tests will save alot of money and people with no jobs make them look for jobs they don’t look kick them off

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