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Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today applauded Majority Leader Harry Reid for his commitment to making a new Farm Bill priority legislation for the 113th Congress. Reid introduced the Senate-passed version of the Farm Bill today as one of several privileged, top priority bills, underscoring his support for and commitment to enacting a new five-year farm bill. Following is the release.
"I applaud Sen. Reid’s leadership and commitment to getting a five-year farm bill done to provide certainty to the 16 million Americans working in agriculture," Chairwoman Stabenow said. "Last year we were able to pass a farm bill with overwhelming bipartisan support, saving more than $23 billion in taxpayer money and reforming farm bill programs to be more cost-effective and market-oriented. Unfortunately, the House didn’t bring the Farm Bill to the floor. Majority Leader Reid has demonstrated that the Senate will once again make supporting our nation’s agriculture economy while cutting spending a top priority."
The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act (S.2340) cleared the Senate with overwhelming, bipartisan support on June 21, 2012. The bill reforms food and agriculture policy, consolidates programs and saves taxpayers more than $23 billion by making programs more cost-effective. The bill and the bipartisan way in which it was passed was praised by Members on both sides of the aisle. Additionally, a wide range of national press outlets called the bill one of the most significant reforms in decades and praised its passage as an example of the Senate finally working the way it should.
Chairwoman Stabenow has said she is committed to convening a Committee mark up as soon as possible, to produce an updated version of the Farm Bill, which could then be substituted for Majority Leader Reid’s placeholder bill.
COMMENTS: This introduction comes as no surprise, with a very political-tinged angle to Reid's action. Democratic senators know House GOP leaders want to take a go-slow approach, thus putting the farm bill focus in the Senate. And with Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) now the Ranking Member on the panel, it could alter the results of what Stabenow pledged to markup of the bill that would take place as soon as possible. Also, budget resolution and reconciliation sets up potential farm bill spending reductions as part of that process.