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Obama Backs Senate Farm Bill Ending Direct Payments to Growers

The Obama administration today said it supports passage of the farm bill being considered by the Senate, legislation that would overhaul U.S. agriculture policy by ending direct payments to growers.

“With authorization for farm- and food-related programs set to expire this year, it is critical that the Congress pass legislation that provides certainty for rural America and includes needed reforms and savings,” President Barack Obama’s Office of Management and Budget said in a policy statement.

Under the bill approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee in April, direct payments -- made regardless of crop prices -- would be replaced with an expanded insurance initiative called the “shallow-loss” program. The change would provide the bulk of savings in the bill, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates at $23.6 billion over 10 years.

The Senate cleared a procedural hurdle on the measure this morning, advancing the bill on a 90-8 vote. Dozens of amendments have already been filed to the measure.

The measure is S. 3240.

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