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US Senate Passes Farm Bill, Obama to Sign It

  • VOA News

Senate Agriculture Committee member Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., center, joined by fellow committee members, gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 4, 2014, after congressional approval of a sweeping five-year farm bill.

Senate Agriculture Committee member Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., center, joined by fellow committee members, gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 4, 2014, after congressional approval of a sweeping five-year farm bill.

The U.S. Senate has passed a long overdue farm bill that cuts food aid for the poor but helps farmers during hard times.

Senators approved the bill Tuesday by a margin of 68 to 32, a week after the House passed it. The bill now goes to the White House for President Barack Obama's signature.

Obama said the bill, while not perfect, contained a variety of common sense reforms that he said would make a positive difference for the country.

Lawmakers had been debating the nearly $1 trillion bill for months. Liberal Democrats opposed cuts in food stamps that help poor Americans at the supermarket. Conservative Republicans wanted deeper cuts.

The bill also ends controversial direct payments to farmers even if they do not grow anything or make money when prices go up.

The subsidies are being replaced by a crop insurance program to help farmers cope during droughts or when prices fall.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.
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