Senate clears first amendment to the farm bill

GOP Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.), Ted Cruz (Texas), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Mike Lee (Utah), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Pat Toomey (Pa.) and John Cornyn (Texas) voted against the amendment.

ADVERTISEMENT
After the vote on Cantwell’s amendment, the Senate also approved Sen. Jeff Sessions' (R-Ala.) amendment, which aims to clarify the eligibility criteria for those who qualify for agriculture irrigation assistance. His amendment was passed by voice vote.

The Senate began considering a $955 billion five-year farm bill this week. It's unclear if the Senate can complete work on the bill this week. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said that the Senate will transition to the comprehensive immigration reform bill once it's out of committee even if the Senate hasn't passed the farm bill.

S. 954 would cut more than $23 billion from current spending levels over 10 years. It includes $4 billion worth of cuts to food stamps, which has led to some Democratic opposition.

Last year’s farm bill passed on a bipartisan 64-35 vote, but the House failed to take up their own farm bill.

This year the House has a $940 billion farm bill that cuts spending by $39.7 billion over 10 years — $20.5 billion are cuts to food stamps. The House bill likely won’t get a floor vote until June.

The White House has said it supports the Senate farm bill.