Thune: Farm bill could hit Senate floor next week

By Aarian Marshall

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2013 - The farm bill could hit the Senate floor next week, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., told reporters today in a teleconference.

“[I]f they could get this done and get it on the floor next week, that would be great,” Thune said. Congress has limited time this month due to a weeklong recess starting Jan. 20 and President Obama's State of the Union address on Jan. 28.

Lets Talk Food

Thune said the dairy title has become the main point of contention for farm bill conferees, and implied it was holding up the rest of the bill.  But Thune, who is not a member of the conference, said he did not have any details on the legislation. “It's hard to know what's in the bill because [lawmakers are] playing it very close to the vest,” he said.

Though Thune hails from a farming- and ranching- heavy state, his support for a final farm bill is not guaranteed. He voted against the Senate version of the legislation after the Agriculture Committee rejected one of his amendments that would have eliminated high fixed target prices for rice and peanuts. He also objected to the Senate Democrats' plan to cut $4 billion from food stamp funding over 10 years as insufficient. House Republicans have proposed cuts of $39 billion.

“Frankly [the bill has] gotten worse as it's moved through the process,” Thune told reporters today.

Thune stressed, however, his support for sod-saver provisions, conservation compliance and livestock indemnity programs that could appear in the final bill.

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