In Senate, bipartisan support is key to farm bill

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Support from Democrats and Republicans in the Senate is expected to overcome liberal as well as conservative criticism of a massive five-year farm bill that spends nearly $100 billion a year on food stamps and crop subsidies.

The chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, says she has no doubt senators will approve the measure.

After years of setbacks, the farm bill cleared its biggest hurdle Wednesday when the House approved it 251-to-166.

Conservatives had sought to overhaul the food stamp program, which has ballooned to $80 billion a year. But the Senate balked and the White House threatened to veto a House plan to cut 5 percent from the program.

The final bill has $800 million, or 1 percent, in annual cuts to food stamps.

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