Reid expects long-term farm bill done this month

By Derrick Cain

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Jan. 3, 2014 - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told Agri-Pulse today that he fully expects a long-term farm bill to be completed in Congress by the end of the month.

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“[Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.,] thinks she can get it done soon,” Reid said. “It should be done, hopefully, in the next two weeks.”

As lawmakers return from recess on Jan. 6, farm conferees are expected to meet soon to try and solve the myriad of differences between the Senate bill and the House bill. One of the largest differences are proposed reductions in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), as the House bill aims for a $40 billion cut over 10 years while the Senate bill sets a $4 billion cut. Disagreements seemingly continue over the commodity title, dairy policy, crop insurance, and conservation compliance, among other things.

Still, Reid acknowledged that he is pushing conferees to complete their work and send a conference report to the Senate floor by the end of the month. Reid's comments came after an unusually lengthy pro forma session of the Senate today.

Before recess, the House approved a one-month extension of the 2008 farm bill through January in an attempt to avoid reverting to permanent law. However, the Senate did not take up the extension.

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