Ag act on hold

The Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012 had bipartisan sponsorship in the U.S. Senate, but it nearly ran afoul of an imaginary filibuster and too many amendments. The bill would cut subsidies to farmers. Only a handful of senators opposed it, including Sen. Dean Heller, most of them from the south. It was sponsored by Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, both of whom are members of the Agriculture Committee.

The act is intended to reauthorize farm programs and cut subsidies given to farmers who no longer grow crops, and according to a statement released by Sen. Harry Reid, would save “$23 billion, which will be used to reduce the deficit. … This measure will create jobs and cut subsidies. … It includes important reforms that make farm and food stamp programs more accountable and more defensible.”

The act would also cut $4.5 billion from food stamps. New York Sen. Kristen Gillibrand proposed an amendment to keep the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), as the food stamp program is now known, from being cut.

In the end, the Senate voted to invoke cloture—that is, end debate and vote—and passed the bill 9-8. As expected, Reid voted yes, and Heller voted no.