The Senate Budget Committee passed a budget resolution for the 2005 fiscal year that includes yet another payment limit amendment written by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.

The latter would reduce spending on commodity programs by $1.24 billion over five years and apply the savings to conservation, nutrition and value-added agriculture programs such as ethanol production.

The reductions would be achieved by limiting direct payments under the 2002 farm bill to $20,000, counter-cyclical payments to $30,000 and marketing loan benefits to $87,500 for “multiple-entity operations” and $40,000, $60,000 and $175,000 for farms operating as “single entities.”

The resolution approved by the Senate Budget Committee by a 12-10 vote would take effect in October of this year if it were approved by the full Senate and the House and signed by the president.

Sen. Grassley offered his amendment despite a recommendation by the National Commission on the Application of Payment Limitations that the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act (2002 farm bill) be left unchanged until its expiration in 2007.

Democrats argued that the budget blueprint written by Committee Chairman Don Nickles, R-Okla., cuts funding for schools and infrastructure improvements to reduce the deficit created, in part, by the Bush administration's tax cuts.

The Senate was expected to debate the Budget Resolution the week of March 8. The House Budget Committee was expected to take up its Budget Resolution the same week.