House Ag Committee Passes Farm Bill

After a late-night session Wednesday, the House Agriculture Committee voted to approve a $940 billion farm bill, a day after the Senate passed its version. The vote was 36 to 10, with mostly Democrats voting against the bill after nine hours of debate.

The House farm bill passed the committee with strong bipartisan support but exposed a division among committee members over the size of cuts to the food stamp program, which has long been a target of conservatives. Committee members also rejected an amendment that would strip the supply management provision of the bill's dairy title, which leaves the Dairy Security Act intact.

Efforts to pass a farm bill last year failed when House leaders refused to bring their version of the bill to the floor for a vote. The Senate did pass its version. The most recent farm bill, which passed in 2008, was extended until Sept. 30.

The Senate Agriculture Committee approved a $955 billion farm bill on Tuesday, the first step toward completing an overhaul of the nation's food and farm policy that was derailed last year when the House failed to vote on its version of the bill.

The new bill, which was approved 15 to 5, is expected to save $23 billion over the next 10 years by eliminating or consolidating hundreds of agriculture programs.

Both the full House and Senate are looking to push the farm bill to the floor next week (week of May 20th).

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