The farm bill passed the Senate! The farm bill passed the Senate!
We don't get to say this very often, so forgive our enthusiasm. The bill is a massive piece of legislation passed by Congress every five years (or so), so we get excited about it while we can. An expenditure of about $100 billion a year, it touches nearly every part of our food system. Food stamps? Farm bill. Subsidies to the sugar industry? Farm bill. Insurance for failed crops? Farm bill.
Or, at least, those things all were in the bill. The version that passed the Senate today nearly 2-to-1 is a mixed bag -- with a few bright spots. It leaves sugar subsidies in place, while revamping assistance to farmers in a way that benefits Big Ag. Food stamps (now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) took a hit, but it could have been worse.
Okay, it will probably get worse. When the House considers what to include in the legislation (a process that is still a few weeks away), it's highly unlikely that the balance of cuts will be the same, and SNAP will probably bear the brunt.
Last week, we presented a list of five amendments worth keeping an eye on. Here's how they fared.