Senate set to pass half-trillion dollar farm bill


WASHINGTON — The Senate is poised to pass a five-year, half-trillion-dollar farm bill that would expand government subsidies for crop insurance, rice and peanuts while making small cuts in the food stamp program.

The chamber is expected to vote on the legislation today. The bill, which costs almost $100 billion annually, also would eliminate subsidies that are paid to farmers whether they farm or not. It would save about $2.4 billion a year, including across-the-board cuts that took effect earlier this year.

The Senate passed a similar farm bill last year on a bipartisan 64-35 vote. The House is expected to take up its own version of the farm bill as early as this month, in what could be a contentious and much more partisan floor fight over domestic food aid.