U.S. lawmakers plan to start drafting farm bill next week

WASHINGTON Tue May 7, 2013 12:42pm EDT

WASHINGTON May 7 (Reuters) - Congress will begin writing the new, $500 billion U.S. farm law next week, the head of the Senate Agriculture Committee said on Tuesday, amid calls for deeper cuts in farm subsidies and food stamp spending.

The Senate panel scheduled a bill-drafting session for May 14. Its House counterpart, unofficially, aims to start writing its version on May 15. The bills are expected to boost crop support rates, expand the crop insurance program, reduce the scope of land-idling programs and cut spending on food aid to the poor.

Senate Agriculture chairwoman Debbie Stabenow has said the Senate bill plans to cut farm bill outlays by $23 billion over 10 years. The House bill is expected to save $35 billion. (Reporting By Charles Abbott; editing by Ros Krasny)