Finally, the House of Representatives passed a 5-year farm 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 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 still includes about $8 billion in food stamp cuts, as well as reforms to conservation and land programs.
The hope is that the Senate will quickly pass the bill. Though there could be a fight in the Senate over the SNAP cuts along with arguments over the conservation and land program reforms.