The Senate has voted to end direct payments to farmers whose annual incomes exceed $1 million.
The 84-15 vote approving the provision by Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn came as the Senate worked into the early morning hours Friday on a vast spending bill.
Coburn argued that the government shouldn't be subsidizing the highest earning farmers at a time of deep budget deficits. The leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee, who opposed Coburn, are working on legislation that could eliminate the entire $5 billion-a-year direct payment program for farmers.
Direct payments go to farmers regardless of crop prices or yields. They are relied on heavily by many rice and cotton farmers in the South.