With Republicans in the House of Representatives sending the Senate a new farm bill recombining farm legislation and nutritional programs, the Senate has reappointed its congressional conferees, the group responsible for hammering out the differences between the House and Senate bill so that a single bill can be sent to President Barack Obama.
The farm bill has had a rough year and a half in Congress. While the Senate has passed two bipartisan farm bills since last summer, the House has proved to be a major logjam in farm legislation. Last summer, the House refused to vote on the farm bill, letting the act die in committee. This year, the House allowed a vote, only to be defeated on the first vote. Their second effort separated farm legislation from food stamps and other nutritional legislation entirely. The most recent bill, it seems, temporarily reconnects these programs.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, however, remains skeptical. The House bill reauthorized farm legislation for five years and nutritional programs for three, guaranteeing that the two policies will inevitably be separated.
The Democrats on the Senate committee are Debbie Stabenow, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Max Baucus of Montana, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Michael Bennet of Colorado. The Republicans include Ag Ranking Member Thad Cochran, Pat Roberts of Kansas, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, John Boozman of Arkansas, and John Hoeven of North Dakota. All are members of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer