Farm bill heads to White House - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Farm bill heads to White House

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It's taken more than two years, but this afternoon, Congress finally passed a roughly $956 billion farm bill.

The five-year deal affects everything from food stamps, to farm subsidies and other agriculture marketing, research and regulation programs.

In a bill this big (1,000 pages), it's all about the details. This one spends close to a billion dollars per page.

For Dave Williams, a good meal is hard to come by. He gets $189 a month in food stamps and turns to homeless assistance centers like Miriam's Kitchen when the money runs out.

He's relieved the new farm bill doesn't include nearly $40 billion in cuts initially proposed by fiscal conservatives.

Instead, stricter eligibility requirements will save about $8 billion.

"It definitely makes things easier. I can breath a little better," he said.

Farmers are losing direct subsidies. They'll transition to a crop insurance program.

The crop insurance program is being touted as a program that only pays farmers when they have a loss, but Josh Sewell with Taxpayers for Common Sense says that is not entirely accurate.

"There are times when you could still be making money but you don't make as much as you we're hoping to and could get a payout," he said.

Also questionable to fiscal conservatives: a catfish inspection program and millions of dollars to promote maple syrup.

"The next time you see an advertisement for maple syrup you may want to watch it because it's your tax dollars that paid for it," said Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

The bill's supporters are celebrating the more than $16 billion in savings it does achieve with its passage.

"This is a reform bill that contains the greatest reforms to agriculture programs in decades," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), agriculture committee. "The agriculture industry finally gets the certainty it's been waiting for."

The bill now goes to the president and the White House has said he will sign it.

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