Senate Passes Farm Bill, Heads To White House For Signature

Finally, after nearly three years of arduous deliberation, Congress has got its act together and passed a Farm Bill. The Senate voted 68-32 to pass the five-year package that will now head to President Obama to be signed. The bill includes cuts to food stamps, more formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, which will affect around 1.7 million people. Over the next decade $8 million will be trimmed from the program.

The bill closes a loophole employed by 16 states that helps households receive higher benefits by distributing low-income fuel assistance. It also eliminates direct payments to farmers, putting the savings of around $5 billion toward expanding the crop insurance program.

The House of Representatives passed the farm bill 251-166 last week, with both Democrats and Republicans split in their support and opposition of the legislation. Support for the bill in the Senate was also bipartisan, with 23 Republicans and nine Democrats voting against passage.

The new farm bill is nearly 1,000 pages long and lasts until 2018, replacing 2008 legislation. The estimated cost is just under $100 trillion dollars, and it is expected to reduce spending by $23 million over the next decade.

The White House issued a statement in which Obama voiced his support for the comprehensive bill, which he said "isn't perfect" but "will make a positive difference."