The good news on the farm bill front is that the anti-privatization provisions have been stripped. The provisions would have prevented states from privatizing welfare eligibility and processing functions a la Texas and Indiana:
A move in Congress to limit the role of private firms in doling out food stamps is dead for now, allowing Texas to move forward with its privatization plans. U.S. House and Senate negotiators voted late last week against including a privatization ban in a $300 billion farm bill that lawmakers hope to finish this week. The ban would have prevented states from allowing employees of private companies to interact with people who are applying for food stamps or to decide someone’s eligibility. The House included the ban in a farm bill last year in response to problems in Texas, where some families were improperly denied food stamps, Medicaid and cash assistance during a 2006 privatization test in the Austin area. But the Senate did not put the ban in its version of the farm legislation, and negotiators from the two chambers voted to keep it out of the final bill.
More in the Austin American-Statesman. The bad news is…there’s still a farm bill coming, and it doesn’t look like we’re going to see any major reforms of our Depression-era farm program.