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Agriculture committees say the farm bill will save about $23 billion over the next decade, compared with current funding — less than many conservative Republicans had hoped for. The Congressional Budget Office, using a different measurement, has estimated savings of $16.6 billion over that 10-year period. Tribune photo

House easily passes long-overdue farm bill; Senate passage expected as early as today


WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives passed a comprehensive farm bill Wednesday that cuts payments for food stamps by about 1 percent and ends a direct subsidy to farmers, while expanding government-backed crop insurance programs.

After months of negotiations and criticism from both sides of the political spectrum the measure passed easily, by 251 votes to 166, with 162 Republicans joining 89 Democrats in favor.

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