A farm bill that would make slight cuts to food stamps and increase farmers' reliance on crop insurance has been approved in U.S. Senate by an overwhelming 66-27 vote.
This farm bill is very similar to the one that passed in the Senate last year, but which never became law because the U.S. House did not act.
The legislation ends direct payments to farmers, expands federally-subsidized crop insurance and makes cuts of about $400 million to the $80-billion annually food stamp program.
Both of Minnesota's Democratic senators voted for the bill. The legislation represents the kind of compromise Congress needs more of, DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar said.
"We were able to work out a bipartisan compromise in the committee. We are able to get a strong vote on the floor," Klobuchar said. "Now it is time for Speaker (John) Boehner to call the House bill up so that then we can work out the differences as we should in regular order in conference committee."
Getting a bill through a deeply divided U.S. House will prove the more difficult task. The House bill makes deeper cuts of about $2 billion a year to food stamps. Most Democrats oppose cutting that deeply while many Republicans would prefer to see even less food stamp spending.
House debate on the bill could begin next week.