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Senate OKs $867 billion farm bill, but omits food-stamp work requirement

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Senate OKs $867 billion farm bill, but omits food-stamp work requirement

Bill seen as high priority before midterm elections

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The farm bill funds crop insurance and payments to farmers when commodity prices or revenues drop below set levels.

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Thursday passed a five-year bill to reauthorize farm programs, aiming to complete work important to a key GOP constituency well before the midterm elections.

The Senate bill, which passed by 86-11, omits controversial food-stamp work requirements passed in the House’s version of the bill. The farm bill, estimated to cost $867 billion over a decade, next moves to a conference between the two chambers, which must iron out differences before President Donald Trump can sign the measure into law.

The farm bill funds crop insurance and payments to farmers when commodity prices or revenues drop below set levels, as well as programs to help low-income people afford basic food items. It is viewed as critical at a moment when net-farm income is forecast to drop this year to the lowest level since 2006. Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., made passage of the bill a priority over every other issue, including his push to prevent the Trump administration’s tariffs from provoking damaging retaliation against U.S. agricultural producers.

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