The Senate Agriculture Committee Tuesday will begin markup of the 2013 Farm Bill, just one day ahead of the scheduled House markup. The committee will convene at 9 a.m. central time to begin discussion, which will range from food stamp benefits to farm payment regulation.
Notably, the Senate will be debating a bill that is very similar to last year's bill, which included $4 billion in cuts to food stamp programs and ends direct payments. Overall, the bill is estimated to cut $23 billion from the deficit over three years – even though a Congressional Budget Office report issued Monday indicates $18 billion is more likely.
The figure is contrary to the $13.1 billion predicted by the CBO in March. However, if sequestration is repealed, savings would grow to $24.4 billion, CBO said Monday.
Those savings come largely from farm subsidies at $16 billion and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program at $4 billion. Both are hot-button issues that will likely keep debate interesting.
Much like last year, the 2013 Senate version eliminates direct payments and caps leftover risk management support following the end of direct payments at $50,000 per person, according to a bill summary.
Additionally, requirements would be more stringent as to ensure farm payments are not distributed to non-farmers via the "management loophole."