More Senate Farm Bill Woes Surface as Reid Starts Playing the 'Blame Game'

June 18, 2012 10:23 AM
 

Via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.


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


Tuesday afternoon decision is critical for farm bill timeline.

It did not take long in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) comments today to realize the farm bill timeline is slipping, and rising on the frustration scale.

Reid in floor comments said that Republicans were largely to blame for the delay in the farm bill and that he is prepared to force a cloture vote if the impasse cannot be resolved quickly - he did not define "quickly".

Reid indicated he has talked with Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) several times over the last few days and that she reported what she has previously indicated several times - that she is "making progress" toward an agreement on amendments. "The issues on this bill are overwhelmingly on the other side," Reid said, adding he had dealt with differences among Democrats on amendments.


Perspective: The latest situation signals Tuesday afternoon will be the next key farm bill timeline in the Senate. Should an agreement both on the scope (more important) and the number of amendments not be reached, then Reid would follow through with his cloture threat, which would ripen Thursday. To some degree that development would depend on how Reid "fills the tree" and whether or not that leads all or nearly all Republicans to stick with their Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). But history shows farm-state lawmakers from both political parties like the spending in the farm bill. So the final verdict depends on (1) whether or not 7 Republicans can join any all-Democrat vote for cloture or, (2) whether or not there are enough Democrats that will join Republicans who do not want to approve cloture.


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

 

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