The full Senate voted in support of continuing 2012 farm bill consideration today. The vote passed 90-8 in favor of proceeding.
"This bill represents commonsense and responsible reforms that will save taxpayers tens of billions of dollars while strengthening key initiatives that will allow our economy to continue growing and creating jobs," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), chair of the Senate Ag Committee.
Stabenow said the bill has support from hundereds of agricullture and food organizations. She encouraged her fellow senators to pass the bill immediatly considering the 2008 farm bill is due to expire in September.
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), ranking member of the committee, co-authored the bill with Stabenow, pledging to do right by farmers. He said the bill serves taxpayers while strengthening programs important to the life of rural America and the agriculture community.
"We’ve cut mandatory spending by $23.6 billion. We’ve reformed, eliminated and streamlined USDA programs to the tune of more than 100 programs and authorizations eliminated. We’ve done it on a voluntary basis and in a bipartisan fashion," Roberts said. "Simply put, this bill is commonsense reform and needs to be approved now to provide certainty for our farmers and ranchers to make planning decisions and to help our economic recovery."
This bill consolidates 23 conservation programs into 13 initiaves, ends four subsidy programs including direct payments, and is said to strengthen risk management during volatile times through market-based tools.
The "Jobs" bill, as dubbed by Stabenow, is credited with preserving jobs for Americans through reform.
"Sixteen million American jobs rely on agriculture. The time for reform is now," Stabenow said.
Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) gave this statement when the bill was presented to the floor.
"The Agriculture Committee is different from most of the other Committees in Congress. Our committee room doesn’t have a raised dais – instead we sit around a table just like families across the country do, and just like farmers and ranchers do after a long day of work in the fields.
"And so to write this Farm Bill, we sat down around our table, and we talked to each other, and we listened to each other, and we worked in a bipartisan way to craft a bill that creates jobs while cutting subsidies and reducing the deficit. The result of that effort is the bill we have before us today.
"It’s a bill that affects every family across the country. The Farm Bill makes it possible for many families to come together around their own kitchen tables to enjoy the bounty of the world’s safest, most abundant and most affordable food supply.
"And so we are also aware, especially in this very tough economy, that many of our neighbors, many of our friends, and many of our family members are struggling to put food on their tables. And the Farm Bill is critically important for those families as well.
"So as we begin our debate here in the Senate on the Farm Bill, let us remember the families all across the country who are counting on us to get this right."
Read about the Farm Bill's Journey to the Senate.
Listen to House ranking member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) discussing the differences between the Senate and House versions of the 2012 Farm Bill.