Farm bill could hinge on budget talks
WASHINGTON – A farm bill that stalled in Congress before the election could see quick action by the end of the year if congressional leaders decide they need its spending cuts – including a small reduction in the $80-billion-a-year food stamps program – to make a deal for averting the “fiscal cliff.”
The farm bill passed by the Senate in June would save $23 billion over 10 years, while a version passed by the House Agriculture Committee in July would save $35 billion. The savings come from cuts to farm subsidies and by tightening eligibility requirements for those who receive food stamps, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
That pot of money could be useful to lawmakers who will be scrambling in the year’s final weeks to address the combination of tax increases and automatic spending cuts due in January – dubbed the fiscal cliff because the combination could plunge the economy into another recession.
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