Lifestyle & Belief

Five-year farm bill passes Senate, faces challenges in House


Corn grows in a field August 17, 2011 near Willow Springs, Wisconsin.


Scott Olson

A five-year, half-trillion-dollar farm bill sailed through the Senate with bipartisan support Monday evening.

Its future, however, is much murkier in the House.

Eighteen Senate Republicans joined Democrats in passing the bill, which would cut $24 billion in farm spending over 10 years while expanding government subsidies for crop insurance, rice and peanuts.

Before the Senate vote, Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow touted her bill as supporting US jobs while also reducing the deficit.

The legislation also sets policy for environmental protection programs, international food aid and projects to help rural communities.

More from GlobalPost: US food aid reformers seek place in farm bill debate

The Senate passed a similar bill last year, but it was never taken up by the House.

The House Agriculture Committee's version of the bill proposes greater cuts to the food stamp program and makes it more difficult for some people to apply in an effort to appeal to conservatives.

House Speaker John Boehner pledged Monday to seek a "fair process" and not to impose his "personal will" on the House.

But he's a veteran of the House Agriculture Committee and has voted against farm bills before. He's been vocal in his opposition to farm subsidies in both versions of this year's bill.

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