The farm bill took yet another step forward as the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill this morning with a 251-166 vote.
"I am pleased a majority of my House colleagues joined me in supporting a five-year, comprehensive farm bill. I appreciate the efforts of everyone who helped get us here," said House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas. "This is legislation we can all be proud of because it fulfills the expectations the American people have of us."
"We are on the verge of achieving major reform," said Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow. "Today’s House vote puts us one step closer to finally enacting a five-year farm bill that helps farmers and businesses create jobs across the country and saves taxpayers billions."
The farm bill, called the Agricultural Act of 2014, includes major spending reforms, including:
- The elimination of direct payments
- Improved crop insurance tools
- Reduced payment limits, tightened eligibility requirements and streamlined means tests
- A permanent livestock disaster assistance program
- Dairy policy reform with a new, voluntary livestock margin protection program, but no government-mandated supply controls
- Support for beginning farmers
The bill also includes about $8 billion in food stamp cuts, as well as reforms to conservation and land programs.
"I am hopeful this legislation will enjoy the same success when the Senate considers it, and I encourage the president to sign it quickly into law," Lucas said.
"It’s now up to the Senate to take the final step," Stabenow said. "The Senate has twice passed the farm bill with overwhelming bipartisan support. I have no doubt we’ll do it again, and show that it is possible to do something to reduce the deficit and boost the economy when people work across the aisle."