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Senate approves farm bill

Jun 22, 2012 11:42 am
The Associated Press reports the U.S. Senate passed a half-trillion-dollar farm bill Thurs., June 21. The legislation cuts farm subsidies and land conservation spending, but protects sugar growers and food stamp beneficiaries. In its final version, the bill reduced the food assistance program by $4.5 billion. Food stamp spending has doubled in the past five years, and the program's budget comprised 80 percent of the spending in the five-year bill. New York's Democrat Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer voted for the bill, as did Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts. Gillibrand and food advocates in New York fought the program reductions. Gillibrand expressed her disappointment with the cuts, Thursday. "Just as important as the health of our agriculture industry — is the health and nutrition of our children and families," she said. The biggest change in the bill comes from eliminating direct payments to farmers whether they plant crops or not. The legislation now moves on to the House. Read the full story in the Times Union.

Click here to listen to an audio clip (from C-Span video) of local Senators voting on the Farm Bill, with Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who voted against the Farm Bill, explaining the law was crafted in a bi-partisan fashion.
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