Senate vote on final passage of farm bill set for Monday

By Derrick Cain

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, June 6, 2013 - The Senate will vote Monday night on final passage of the five-year farm bill (S.954), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced today.

This comes after the Senate today approved a cloture motion to proceed with a 75-22 vote.

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The motion dropped more than 100 amendments that were pending and cleared the way for final passage.

Before the vote, Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., reiterated that she expects the bill will reduce the deficit by $24 billion.

“We're not only standing with 16 million people whose jobs depend on agriculture, we're doing it in a responsible way that cuts the deficit,” Stabenow said. “We're eliminating direct payments, moving toward a market-based risk management system for our farmers. We're strengthening conservation to protect our soil and water resources for generations to come.”

In approving the motion to proceed, 22 Republican senators joined 51 Democrats and two Independents. Voting against the motion were 22 Republicans.

Committee ranking member Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, voted in support, while Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., voted against the motion.

Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., former USDA secretary, also voted to move forward.

“Farmers and ranchers need the long-term certainty only a farm bill can provide,” Johanns said. “Congress has drug its feet for too long. While this is not the bill I would have written, I believe - warts and all - it is better than no farm bill and significantly better than the bill passed by the House Agriculture Committee.”

The cloture vote drew a quick positive reaction from the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF).

Jerry Kozak, NMPF president and chief executive officer, said the Senate deserves the “sincere thanks” of dairy farmers.

“The decision to invoke cloture clears the way for approval of a much-needed reform of the federal dairy program when the Senate votes on final passage of the farm bill expected early next week,” Kozak said. “Dairy farmers have been waiting two years for Congress to approve the new dairy program.”

 

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