Earlier this week the Senate reached an agreement on farm bill amendments, paving the way for a potential vote on a final version of the bill.
After reaching the full Senate last week, debate suddenly ground to a halt over amendment disagreements. While the Senate Agriculture Committee reached a bipartisan agreement as to the substance of the bill, dozens of other Senators not on the ag committee have attempted to insert amendments and riders to the bill that could significantly alter its final makeup.
In addition to potentially changing the nature of the bill, some lawmakers worried that an endless stream of amendments could delay its final passage. This delay could jeopardize the future of countless vital farm programs.
The agreement reached would attempt to merge all the suggested amendments into a single period of voting. Starting today, the Senate will vote on more than 70 amendments to the farm bill, clearing the path for a final vote by late June or early July.
However, the farm bill still faces serious hurdles in the House of Representatives, which has refused to pass their own bill until the Senate version is finalized. Current House proposals indicate a desire among some Republicans to increase spending cuts well beyond the Senate’s $24 billion. The differences between the two bills could prove difficult to overcome during congressional reconciliation.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer