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McCaskill Votes to Approve Bipartisan Farm Bill - KOAM TV 7

McCaskill Votes to Approve Bipartisan Farm Bill

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NEWS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE OFFICE OF U.S. SENATOR CLAIRE MCCASKILL

McCaskill Votes to Approve Bipartisan Farm Bill

Following two-year-long fight by Senator to renew Farm Bill, negotiators come to bipartisan agreement

Bill creates Permanent Livestock Disaster Assistance Program, provides retroactive compensation for losses, ends Direct Payments

WASHINGTON – Following her two-year-long fight to renew the Farm Bill, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today released the following statement after voting to approve a bipartisan compromise agreement on a renewal:

“This is a solid, bipartisan bill that will bring needed resources to Missouri’s farmers and ranchers, boost jobs and businesses, and offer some sorely-needed certainty to our rural communities. Everyone can find something in this bill to dislike, but that’s usually the mark of a good compromise, and I sincerely hope it’s the start to a trend to start curing the gridlock in this Congress.”

For the past two years, the U.S. Senate has passed a renewal of the Farm Bill with wide bipartisan majorities that managed to cut billions of dollars of spending, while protecting America’s farmers, ranchers, and low-income families. The U.S. House repeatedly failed to act on the comprehensive legislation. Earlier this year the House—unable to pass a comprehensive bill—split the Farm Bill into two separate pieces and passed them individually, on party-line votes. This allowed a conference committee to be formed between the Senate and House which, following months of negotiations, has merged the two bills into a compromise package.

The legislation was approved in the Senate today on a vote of 68-32.

Last year McCaskill also wrote a letter to members of the Conference Committee urging them to place a cap on the total amount individual farmers can receive of $250,000—a change that would save taxpayers over $160 million a year. “We believe farm programs should offer support in tough times, but like other economic safety nets, the assistance should have limits,” the letter read. McCaskill also joined with her Republican colleague Jeff Flake of Arizona to urge the conference committee to end wasteful Direct Payments—direct cash transfers of taxpayer dollars to farmers from the government that do not take into account current yields or prices.

McCaskill vowed to continue working in future legislation to strengthen those caps.

The compromise Farm Bill announced this week:

  • Creates a Permanent Livestock Disaster Assistant Program, and will provide retroactive payments for producers who suffered losses after the previous Farm Bill expired in late 2011—a significant improvement upon previous livestock disaster provisions, which were ad-hoc or temporary;
  • Ends Direct Payments and replaces them with a program of crop insurance options to ensure farmers and ranchers retain a basic safety net;
  • Saves more than $8 billion in the SNAP (“food stamp”) program without negatively impacting Missourians who rely on this assistance;
  • And provides a year of full funding for the Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program, which provides funding for vital services in Missouri communities containing federal lands.

McCaskill’s advocacy on the Farm Bill was honored last year at the Golden Triangle Award Ceremony for the National Farmers Union, where she accepted the group’s highest legislative honor awarded to sitting members of Congress in recognition of her leadership working on behalf of Missouri’s rural communities.

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