Farm Bill Update: June 19, 2012

June 18, 2012 11:54 PM

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

Senate to vote on 73 amendments next few days | House to unveil its farm bill | Senate passage expected

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

-- Senate farm bill odds of passage now zoom with consent agreement. Some 73 amendments – both germane and non-germane – will be dealt with via an agreement worked out with political and farm state leaders (link to details). That will take several days but the verdict is clear: eventual Senate passage for a bill that is estimated to cost $965 billion and save an estimated $23.6 billion over ten years. Several controversial amendment votes are on tap, including ones on sugar policy, crop insurance, payment limitations, MAP, food stamps. The non-germane amendments include language on North Korea, the budget sequestration and defense, and regulations.

-- "This is a day I didn't think would ever happen," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) before detailing the parliamentary understanding. "It's not a great agreement, but it is a good agreement."

-- The coming Senate passage will at least put pressure on the House to deliver its version. The House Ag Committee is expected to unveil its farm bill language Thursday (likely) or Friday. A markup session is likely next Wednesday. The House version will be different – but similar in many ways – to the Senate, with the biggest difference that the House measure will include a target price/counter-cyclical program that the Senate bill lacks. Another major difference is that the House measure will have significantly more budget cuts for food stamps than its Senate counterpart – a major issue in an eventual House-Senate conference which would be chaired by House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.).

-- Sens. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.). have aborted previous work on trying to get a target price/counter-cyclical package on to the Senate measure. The reasons are several, but mainly consist of push back by Senate Ag Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Ranking Member Pat Roberts (R-Kan.). Also, some sources predicted if the target price language would have come up for an amendment vote, it would likely have failed.


NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.






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