According to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Senate will take up the farm bill again in May, giving the House and Senate roughly four months to write and pass a new farm bill before the current extension expires.
Despite herculean efforts by farm advocacy groups across the country, the 2012 Farm Bill died in committee last year. While the Senate passed a new farm bill in May and the House Agriculture Committee passed a draft of the farm bill in July, the bill died when GOP leaders refused to allow a full floor vote.
With Congress distracted by sequestration debates and threats of government shutdowns, many farmers believed that their representatives wouldn’t even get to a new farm bill this year.
Reid’s announcement has made farmers slightly more optimistic that the Senate is committed to protecting the interests of the farm community. However, given recent Congressional Budget Office estimates that last year’s farm bill only saves about $13 billion, Senator Debbie Stabenow and other agricultural politicians may need to dig deep to appease fiscal conservatives in the House and Senate.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer