October 11, 2013 / 5:30 PM / in 5 years

Long-delayed U.S. farm bill heads for final round of work

WASHINGTON, Oct 11 (Reuters) - The final round of work on a long-delayed U.S. farm bill, drafting of a legislative compromise between the Senate and House of Representatives, looks about to get started.

An aide to House Speaker John Boehner told Reuters the House negotiators could be appointed as early as Saturday. Senate conferees were named in August and reappointed this month.

The House was expected to vote formally in favor of open negotiations on Saturday, and also to vote on suggestions that the bill should make changes to the U.S. sugar program and also require wealthy farmers to pay a larger share of crop insurance premiums.

The five-year, $500 billion bill, which would expand the federally subsidized crop insurance system, has been tied up for months by a dispute in the House over cuts in food stamps for the poor.

Conservative Republicans defeated the farm bill during the summer because it did not cut domestic nutrition programs, commonly known as food stamps, deeply enough.

At that point, two separate bills were constructed; one to deal with traditional farm program elements and another to sharply cut food stamp funding.

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