Congress passes farm bill, cuts food stamps by $8.7 billion

Behold, the fruits of bipartisanship

By Elias Isquith

Published February 4, 2014 10:25PM (EST)

Sen. Rand Paul                                   (AP/Reed Saxon)
Sen. Rand Paul (AP/Reed Saxon)

Bipartisanship, everybody; isn't it great?

On Tuesday, the Senate passed — on a bipartisan basis, no less — the so-called farm bill. The bill will lead to 850,000 families on food stamps seeing their benefits cut by about $90 per month, a cut to the program's budget of about 1 percent. The president is expected by all to sign it.

The bill is the product of roughly three years' worth of on-and-off negotiations between Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate. Its total spending is roughly $956.4 billion. It ends direct subsidy payments to farmers worth billions of dollars, and it is expected to cut somewhere around $16 billion in government spending over the coming 10 years.

In a statement released after the Senate vote, President Obama said that while the bill "isn’t perfect" he believes "it will make a positive difference not only for the rural economies that grow America’s food, but for our nation.”

Obama's sentiment was echoed by Senate Republicans and Democrats. North Dakota's John Hoeven described the bill as "really ... fair to both sides," and Washington's Maria Cantwell remarked that, while the bill cuts food stamps "far more than I would have cut it" she still considers it "time that we move forward.”

Salon's Blake Zeff had a different interpretation of this Congressional coming together. As he put it recently, this bipartisan bill will "make hungry people hungrier at a time of rampant poverty."

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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