New House farm bill cuts $12.9B, CBO finds

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The CBO said the bill cuts $18.7 billion from the commodity subsidy title and $4.8 billion from environmental programs, though $8.9 billion of the savings would be spent on expanded crop insurance.

The CBO uses a current law baseline. If you use a baseline that assumes automatic sequestration cuts would be repealed, then the House bill cuts spending more deeply by keeping the cuts in place. 

The House farm bill does away with direct farm payments, which have come under attack because they are based on historic production and can go to people no longer engaged in farming. The bill replaces that with new revenue and price supports as well as expanded crop insurance.

The original farm bill that failed on the House floor last month also contained $20.5 billion in cuts to food stamp programs.

Fiscal groups expressed outrage on Thursday about a provision of the bill that would make the farm subsidies in the bill permanent law, instead of having them expire after five years. The change would remove pressure in the future to regularly revisit and justify farm subsidies and federally funded crop insurance.

"It is a staggering bait-and-switch that will bury taxpayers under billions of subsidies in perpetuity," said Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense. The organization urged a vote against the bill.