Obama Can't Cull Farm Subsidies
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2009 11:18 AM CDT
Kent Conrad answers questions from reporters about the budget, March 24, 2009, on Capitol Hill. Conrad, the chair of the Senate budget committee, is a fierce opponent of cutting farm subsidies.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama’s attempt to slash farm subsidies seems to have died on the vine, the New York Times reports. The $9.7 billion in cuts Obama included in his budget outline were conspicuously absent from the outlines the House and Senate approved Thursday, squashed by farm state lawmakers. Now supporters say any revived plan would have to be drastically scaled back.

Some proponents believe the president overreached with an ill-considered proposal. Obama sought to ban direct payments to farms with gross receipts topping $500,000—even if those farms weren’t actually profitable. “It cast a cloud over the whole gesture,” said the president of a group opposed to subsidies. “It was thrown out there and those of us on the reform side really found ourselves in an awkward position.”