After two years of fits and starts, a new farm bill appears on the verge of passing Congress. The House passed the 959-page proposal on Wednesday, with the Senate likely to pass it next week. The compromise cuts $8 billion from food stamps over the next decade and replaces farm subsidies with more extensive crop insurance.
A key theme of President Obama's State of the Union was income inequality. For two different perspectives on the matter, Robert Siegel talks with Paul Krugman and Douglas Holtz-Eakin. Krugman is a columnist for The New York Times and a professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University. Holtz-Eakin is the president of the American Action Forum, a center-right policy institute. He also served as the chief economist of the President's Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush.
After more than two years of negotiations, lawmakers from the Senate and the House have agreed on a new, bipartisan farm bill. The five-year, $500 billion deal would reduce spending by approximately $23 billion, with much of those savings coming from cuts to the federal food stamps program. The House is expected to vote on the deal on Wednesday. Robert Siegel discusses details of the bill with reporter Derek Wallbank of Bloomberg News.
President Obama described the state as "not the most liberal part of the country." In fact, Kentucky gives him lower approval ratings than all but seven other states. Yet the state's Democratic governor has pushed Obama's priorities on health and education more successfully than most other governors.
ANALYSIS: The president was brisk and confident during last night's State of the Union address. He also managed to avoid a remarkable array of issues that could have proved problematic. But he hasn't been nearly as adept at the less-dramatic business of dealing with Congress and the media.
The House on Wednesday approved a five-year compromise farm, signalling perhaps the final stretch for a two-year legislative battle. Because so much of the spending in the measure depends on enrollment in programs like food stamps, it's hard to know if it will save taxpayers money.
As a follow-up to the State of the Union address, the Obama administration is making the dreams of West Wing fans everywhere come true — by holding a real-world "Big Block of Cheese Day." White House staffers are making themselves available on social media Wednesday.