Farm Bill Saves Less Than Anticipated

The 2013 Farm Bill may save less money than is currently anticipated, according to a recent report by the Congressional Budget Office.

For the past year, the farm bill has languished in Washington gridlock, with both houses of Congress unable or unwilling to agree on a broad plan for spending cuts. While the bill that passed the Senate would have trimmed back farm subsidies (such as the elimination of direct payments and the transfer of most federal aid to crop insurance programs), the bill the passed the House Agriculture Committee would have saved money primarily though the reduction of funding for nutrition programs like food stamps.

While the bill languished in House committees, supporters argued that representatives were missing a golden opportunity to reduce the federal deficit, claiming that the 2012 Farm Bill reduced overall federal spending by between $2.7 and $3.5 billion.

A recent report by the CBO, however, suggests that these estimates have been overly generous. According to the most recent analysis, the 2012 (turned 2013) Farm Bill would save either $1.3 or $2.7 billion, depending on whether Congress passed the Senate or House version.

This news will likely add to the farm bill’s legislative hurdles. Of particular difficulty will be getting House Republicans and Senate Democrats to agree to further cuts (as the House GOP has already indicated that it will only accept more cuts from social welfare programs).

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer