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Final vote count important for coming Senate floor timeline, vote
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The following are key topics to be monitored regarding today's farm bill markup session, which begins at 10:30 a.m. ET:
Final vote: Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) wants an adequate bipartisan vote to help Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to schedule floor time for the omnibus package. But contacts signal there are questions of whether the bill, as modified, has the votes to pass, with serious equity issues looming that concern both northern and southern senators. There is also no Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score of some of the changes, which may complicate markup. A divided vote would spell trouble for Senate passage. But one Senate contact said, "Those that say it doesn’t have the votes to pass are poor vote counters. They are probably the same ones that thought target prices or cost of production caps could pass the committee."
North-South coalition? The 2008 Farm Bill brought a surprising coalition of North, South members, led by Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.). That was apparently being tried again during Wednesday developments. But if the northern senators do not get want they were pushing for, they may not vote for the markup package.