The 1990 farm bill, an omnibus measure that could reshape American agriculture, is headed to President Bush, who is expected to sign it.
The Senate approved the bill 60-36 Thursday, two days after 318-102 passage in the House. (Sens. Jake Garn and Orrin Hatch, both R-Utah, voted for the bill.)Bush administration officials, who worked with Congress in devising the package, have said the president would be satisfied with the five-year, $40.8 billion measure. The bill sets policy for virtually every operation in the Agriculture Department.
It establishes new environmental rules for farmers, sets the government's nutrition programs, including food stamps, determines trade policy for food products and sets the government's support programs for commodities.
Opposition to the bill came from senators who feared for farmers in their states if a 15 percent reduction in subsidized acreage in the measure goes into effect.
The change in support hinges on Congress passing a $13.6 billion spending cut for agriculture over the next five years.
Sen. Thomas Daschle, D-S.D., who voted against the bill, said the change in the subsidy program "amounts to a slow economic death sentence for the nation's family farmers."
But Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., the ranking Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee, said debate over farm bills often includes forecasts of dire consequences for farmers.
"Predictions for the last two farm bills were egregiously off the mark," Lugar said. He said farm income need not fall simply because subsidized acreage is reduced.