Jan. 28--Rep. Frank Lucas, the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, said Tuesday that the farm bill agreement struck after months of tough negotiations "is almost a miracle."
Given the budget constraints and political divisions over food stamps and farm programs, "we have a really amazing bill," Lucas, R-Cheyenne, said in telephone conference with reporters.
Lucas said the bill would save roughly $23 billion over ten years, eliminate the controversial direct payments to landowners who may not even grow crops and assure that people who need food stamps will receive them.
Moreover, he said, taxpayer support for farmers would hinge on weather disasters and market failures.
"Don't underestimate the magnitude of the reforms," he said.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the Michigan Democrat who leads the Senate Agriculture Committee, said farm-bill negotiators eliminated outdated programs and consolidated conservation programs.
"We've addressed the needs of every part of America's agriculture," she said.
The House is expected to consider the bill on Wednesday, and the Senate sometime after that.
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Original headline: BRIEF: Oklahoma Rep. Frank Lucas says farm bill agreement "is almost a miracle"
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