Ag panels suggest $23B savings from farm programs

AP News
Posted: Oct 13, 2011 5:18 PM
Ag panels suggest $23B savings from farm programs

The House and Senate agriculture committees are planning to suggest $23 billion in farm and nutrition savings over 10 years to the congressional supercommittee charged with reducing debt.

Concerned about major cuts, the top Democrats and Republicans on the two panels have been working together to find savings. Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, the top Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee, confirmed the $23 billion figure Thursday.

Another member of Congress familiar with the negotiations said the agriculture panels are likely to recommend eliminating a $5 billion-a-year farm subsidy called "direct payments." The member, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the talks, said the panels are also looking at cutting nutrition programs like food stamps by about $4 billion, a fraction of its $700 billion cost over 10 years.