After a long week of debate and discussion, the Senate voted to proceed with the 2012 farm bill Monday night and will wrap up the bill today after several votes.
"This is a day I didn't think would ever happen," says Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). "It's not a great agreement, but it is a good agreement."
Seventy-three germane and non-germane amendments will be debated today on the Senate floor.
"This bill was developed through bipartisan collaboration, passed committee with broad bipartisan support and we now have a bipartisan agreement to move forward with a bill that affects 16 million American jobs," says Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), chair of the Senate Ag Committee.
Crop insurance, sugar price supports and SNAP are all subjects that will be debated today along with price supports for farmers. The non-germane amendments include language on North Korea, the budget sequestration and defense and regulations, according to Jim Wiesemeyer of Informa Economics.
Stabenow is now very confident the bill will pass through the House according to an article from Politico: "Indeed, the list grew during three hours of final talks off the floor of the chamber, but the agreement is a genuine triumph for Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who now has the certainty she wanted of getting to final Senate passage." Read more
Wiesemeyer says the bill is estimated to cost $965 billion and save an estimated $23.6 billion over 10 years. He says if nothing else, the quick approval by the Senate will put pressure on the House to get their version of the bill moving. Many believe Stabenow’s persistence in helping the Senate fully understand the high importance of passing a farm bill soon helped the process move quickly.
"My colleagues on both sides of the aisle understand we must act as soon as possible to give farmers the certainty they need to keep growing the economy," Stabenow says. "This farm bill is unlike any other before it—it cuts spending, ends subsidies, improves accountability and strengthens healthy food systems. We are now closer than ever to achieving real reform in America’s agriculture policy."