The U.S. House passed the farm bill Wednesday, moving the bill on to the Senate. This, after House and Senate negotiators earlier this week agreed on compromise legislation combining each chambers’ drafts.
At least one farm bill watcher from the Midwest is pleased that Congress has finally reached an agreement on the farm bill after years of debate.
Jonathan Coppess, who teaches law and policy at the University of Illinois, said negotiations dragged due to the size – roughly one trillion dollars – and complexity of the bill.
But he said it also got hung up by the budget reduction discussions that have been “dominating” in D.C.
“And I think you compound all that with what has become a very partisan environment in Congress. Just kind of all those forces really added weight to this bill to try to get it across the finish line,” Coppess said.
One of the biggest changes in the new farm bill is the elimination of direct payments to farmers. Instead, risk management will shift more to crop insurance.
The bill also trims some farm programs and the federal food stamp program. These cuts are estimated to save $23 billion over the next ten years compared with current spending levels.