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President Barack Obama praises farm bill after Senate passage

Both Oklahoma senators vote against, marking the first time in 30 years a farm bill has been opposed by majority of state's congressional delegation
by Chris Casteel Published: February 4, 2014

Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, said Tuesday that there were not enough food stamp savings in the bill. The Senate did not adopt his amendment to cut $300 billion from the program over 10 years and allow states to shape their own services, and Inhofe called the $8 billion in projected food stamp savings “meager.”

“The continued explosion of entitlement programs is simply unsustainable,” the senator said.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, objected to the food stamp spending levels but spent more time this week complaining about taxpayer subsidies to farmers.

“Do you know anywhere else where you can get your revenue on your crops guaranteed at 86 percent and the federal taxpayer is paying most of the cost of the insurance for that?” Coburn said in a speech on Monday.

Coburn and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., had an amendment approved that would limit crop insurance subsidies to farmers making $750,000 or more a year, but that was stripped out of the final version.

Durbin said Tuesday that some Republicans wanted to slash food stamps but wouldn't reduce taxpayer crop insurance subsidies to wealthy producers.

“That's upside down,” Durbin said.

“That doesn't reflect the values of this country or the priorities we need to face.”

Rep. Frank Lucas, the Oklahoma Republican who leads the House Agriculture Committee and fought for more than two years to get the farm bill passed, said Tuesday that the goal of the legislation was “to give certainty and sound policy to our agricultural producers; deliver taxpayers billions of dollars in savings; and provide consumers the affordable and reliable food supply they have grown accustomed to.”

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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