Progress on the 2013 Farm Bill ground to a halt on Tuesday afternoon in the US Senate. The floor managers of the Farm Bill (Debbie Stabenow and Thad Cochran) were unable to reach an agreement with other members on which Farm Bill amendments would be scheduled for a debate and a vote. The managers are keen on keeping the amendments germane to the Farm Bill – as they should be.
For those like me watching CSPAN 2 in hopes of seeing the Farm Bill move forward, it became a painful afternoon of watching the likes of Tom Coburn (R. Oklahoma) and Mary Landrieu (D. Louisiana) jousting about the US Senate protocols and the various virtues of their own Farm Bill amendments.
Senator Landrieu is determined to attach an amendment regarding the National Flood Program and premium rates to any vehicle that she can find, the 2013 Farm Bill being her current option. She railed on about a standing objection to her Flood Program efforts filed apparently by Senator Toomey (R. Pennsylvania).
This drew to a merciful conclusion late Tuesday when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D. Nevada) filed a cloture motion on the Farm Bill (S.954). Cloture, for those of you that are working your real job or otherwise living a life outside of CSPAN, is a US Senate term for ending the endless and often inane debate on whatever, and proceeding to the actual bill that is on the floor – in this case the 2013 Farm Bill. The timeframe shrinks for amendments and estimated time for a final vote can be forecast.
Cloture requires a 60 vote majority – which is likely to happen as the Senate has other critical business to work on including Immigration Reform and Student Loan issues. This vote will take place on Thursday morning and it will include a timeline which likely means a very limited number of germane amendments and a final vote on Monday (06-10). Since limiting the number of potentially harmful amendments and getting to the finish line is a good thing for crop insurance, ProAg supports and urges a yes vote on the cloture motion.
The Senate is off today (June 5th) in order to attend memorial services for Senator Lautenberg (D. New Jersey) who passed away early Monday morning.
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