Senate votes to end subsidies to wealthier farmers

AP News
Posted: Oct 21, 2011 12:32 AM
Senate votes to end subsidies to wealthier farmers

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.

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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.