In a review of Senate action on the 2013 Farm Bill, The Hill blog sees more potential cuts ahead. This news service report notes that it appears there is some momentum out there to slice into farm bill spending - especially in areas of payment limits and crop insurance subsidies for farmers.
The Bill - which is more than 80% focused on food and nutrition programs - is on the floor of the Senate where amendments can be raised during deliberations. During the first four days of deliberations - see Farm Futures coverage at these links - Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4 - there has been a lot of talk about cuts. An amendment did pass cutting $1 billion from crop insurance spending for those making more than $750,000.
The blog reports that there's a push for further limits on crop insurance, which should be a concern for farmers since direct payments are already gone. Four senators - Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Pat Toomey, R-Penn., Claire McGaskill, D-Mo., and Jean Shaheen, D-N.H. - are leading the effort to put more limits on crop insurance.
The committee draft shows a cut of $23 billion in spending over 10 years, with $4 billion coming from nutrition programs. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., is hoping to limit further cuts to crop insurance, as is Thad Cochran, R-Miss., ranking member. Both voted against that latest cut to premium support passed Thursday. The discussion on cuts is key as the Senate returns next week to continue deliberation on the bill.
The blog outlines other moves to tinker with crop insurance including a limit to premium subsidies of $50,000 per year, a potential move to renegotiate the reinsurance agreements with crop insurance companies to help cut the deficit and even a move to end the "harvest price option."