Senate Approves Farm Bill
6/21/2012 3:16:48 PM
Thursday the Senate voted 64-35 in favor of the farm bill which is touted as saving $23 billion, while reforming farm programs, particularly ending direct payments and consolidating conservation programs. Georgia's Senators Chambliss and Isakson voted against the bill.
Earlier this week, Senate leaders negotiated an agreement to vote on 73 of the more than 300 introduced to the bill. Senators spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday taking votes on the amendments.
Amendment attempts to change the food stamp program were defeated. Specifically an amendment introduced by Sen. Kristin Gillibrand, (D., N.Y.), which Senate Agriculture Committee chairwoman Debbie Stabenow said "pillages money from crop insurance" to keep SNAP funding at current levels was voted down by a vote of 33-66.
Thursday an attempt by Sen. Mike Johanns, (R., Neb.), to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from using aerial surveillance for livestock operations failed. The amendment didn't receive the 60 votes needed to pass, but it earned the support of 56 senators, including 10 Democrats. However, a counter amendment from Sen. Barbara Boxer, (D., Calif.,) also failed which would have allowed EPA to do aerial inspections assuming it saved taxpayers money.
Tuesday Senators did vote down an amendment by Sen. Rand Paul, (R., Ky.), which would have set a payment limit of $250,000 on all payments, including conservation. However, a measure introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley, (R., Iowa), to limit payments to no more than $75,000 on marketing loan payments was approved by a vote of 75-24.
All attempts to change the current sugar program were voted down.
An attempt to end the Conservation Security Program and Conservation Reserve Program were also unsuccessful, failing 15-84. A measure to tie conservation compliance to crop insurance did pass. In comments ahead of the vote, Sen. Pat Roberts, (R., Kan.,) said senators would have to "hide in their office" for weeks if they voted for the measure, which he said would be "wasteful duplication" since conservation compliance is already tied to all commodity title programs.
An amendment to slash Market Access Program funds by 20% ($40 million annually) was also voted down by a vote of 30 to 69.
A bill that would prohibit mandatory checkoffs was also voted down.
View a full list of the roll call votes: http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/vote_menu_112_2.htm
Stabenow said she has been in consultation with House ag leaders and staff during the Senate's work on its farm bill and the Senate's version has the same "broad parameters" the two chambers worked on last fall while attempting to come up with budget savings.
The House Agriculture Committee has not agreed to its version, but Stabenow said she has "great confidence" they will be successful in reporting out of their committee. Reports indicate the House Agriculture Committee will take up its version July 11.
"If the House can pass a bill, I'm confident we can get this done," she said.
For more information: http://www.feedstuffs.com/ME2/dirmod.asp?sid=F4D1A9DFCD974EAD8CD5205E15C1CB42&nm=Daily+News&type=news&mod=News&mid=A3D60400B4204079A76C4B1B129CB433&tier=3&nid=94ADE06E589C44E7A029587DF0B16355