Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., issued a news release Tuesday in which she "applauded" Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., for listing the farm bill as one of the majority leader's "privileged, top priority bills" for the year, which Stabenow said underscored Reid's commitment to getting the legislation completed.
“I applaud Sen. Reid’s leadership and commitment to getting a five-year farm bill done to provide certainty to the 16 million Americans working in agriculture,” Stabenow said. “Last year we were able to pass a farm bill with overwhelming bipartisan support, saving more than $23 billion in taxpayer money and reforming farm bill programs to be more cost-effective and market-oriented. Unfortunately, the House didn’t bring the Farm Bill to the floor. Majority Leader Reid has demonstrated that the Senate will once again make supporting our nation’s agriculture economy while cutting spending a top priority.”
As Stabenow's news release added, the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act (S.2340) cleared the Senate with overwhelming, bipartisan support on June 21, 2012. The bill reforms food and agriculture policy, consolidates programs and saves taxpayers more than $23 billion by making programs more cost-effective. The bill and the bipartisan way in which it was passed was praised by Members on both sides of the aisle. Additionally, a wide range of national press outlets called the bill one of the most significant reforms in decades and praised its passage as an example of the Senate finally working the way it should.
Stabenow has said she is committed to convening a Committee mark up as soon as possible, to produce an updated version of the farm bill, which could then be substituted for Majority Leader Reid’s placeholder bill.
Stabenow's release comes as more questions are raised about just how much will the Agriculture Committee's be expected to cut to complete a final bill. The House bill cut the growth of spending over the next 10 years by about $10 billion more than the Senate bill but it still wasn't enough to satisfy House leaders.
The congressional budget office score for the cost of crop insurance over the next decade could soar as well. Payouts have now reached a record more than $12 billion for the 2012 crop year.
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