CHN: Senate to Continue Work on Farm Bill
Articles from February 1, 2002
- Budget Surpluses Vanish
Last January, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that budget surpluses would total $5.6 trillion in fiscal years 2002 through 2011. Last week, CBO released figures projecting a $4 trillion drop in the cumulative surplus to $1.6 trillion. Over the next two years, the agency projects a return to budget deficits for the first time since 1997. A $21 billion deficit is expected for fiscal year 2002 and a $14 billion shortfall is anticipated in fiscal 2003. In 2000, the government ran a record surplus of $237 billion.
- Daschle Tries to Revamp Economic Stimulus Debate
Portrayed by Republicans as an “obstructionist” for failing to push an economic stimulus package through the Senate before the winter recess, Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) recently tried to revive negotiations by proposing a watered-down stimulus bill. Senator Daschle’s proposal contains items that the two parties have previously agreed to, including tax rebates for low-income workers who did not receive them last year as part of the $1.35 billion tax cut; a 13 week extension of unemployment benefits for laid-off workers; a one year 30-percent bonus depreciation of some business expenses; and $5 billion in Medicaid funding to the states to provide health insurance coverage.
- Senate to Continue Work on Farm Bill
The Senate is expected to resume debate on the Farm Bill (S. 1731) within the next few weeks after failing to pass legislation before recessing for the winter holidays. The Farm Bill, among other things, reauthorizes the Food Stamp Program and includes $5.9 billion in food stamp improvements over 10 years. Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) may offer an amendment to the bill to increase food stamp spending by $1.4 billion over ten years and to restore food stamp benefits to legal immigrants who have been in the U.S. for five years or longer. The President has also proposed restoring food stamp eligibility to legal immigrants who have lived in the country for five years or more as part of the Administration’s 2003 budget request. Both the Senate and the Administration’s proposal are significant improvements over the House-passed Farm Bill, which does not include a restoration of food stamp benefits for legal immigrants.