Dem sequester bill contains billions in new farm spending

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The $27.5 billion represents a ceiling on savings going forward and allows the Agriculture Committee to move forward with writing a five-year farm bill to replace the stopgap measure passed on New Year’s Day.

Last year, the Senate passed a farm bill that saved $23 billion by eliminating direct payments. It used some of the savings to create new types of crop insurance for farmers and also contained cuts to food stamps.

The House Agriculture Committee passed a similar bill with some $12 billion more in savings from food stamp benefit cuts.

Stabenow said the farm bill debate will look at these as a matter of policy, but Senate Democrats will no longer — should their sequester bill become law — pressure the committee to contribute more to reducing the deficit. 

The Michigan senator told reporters she also succeeded in getting provisions of her Bring Jobs Home Act in the Democratic replacement bill. The provisions stop companies from deducting relocation expenses when they move operations out of the United States.

“The choice facing Congress is to allow drastically irresponsible cuts to hit every part of our budget and cost 750,000 jobs, or to make smart, targeted cuts. Billions in direct payment subsidies are paid out even in good times and for crops farmers aren’t even growing. That’s why an overwhelming bipartisan majority in the Senate voted to eliminate direct payments last year while strengthening support for farmers when they have a loss,” Stabenow said in a statement. 

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