Mike's Blog

Insights from the President of ProAg

Senate Leadership has decided to “fast track” the Farm Bill

by Mike Connealy on 02.03.2014

The Senate leadership has decided to “fast track” the Farm Bill. They will vote on Monday (02-03) to invoke “cloture” on the Farm Bill. Cloture is an odd term that I’ve only heard regarding the process of the US Senate. It basically means that we (members of the US Senate) have decided to no longer “windbag” the merits or problems of this legislation and we are hereby taking a “blood oath” to actually vote on it. Cloture requires 60% of the voting members to agree to “stop talking and vote”.  The leadership does not usually call for cloture unless they have counted ahead and know it will pass. 

The Senate schedule then calls for the actual Farm Bill conference report to be called up on Tuesday (02-04) for final remarks and an actual vote. As stated in earlier blogs, this is the identical legislation to the bill passed by the US House last week. No amendments are allowed, just an “up or down” vote. The final remarks will include a lot of rhetoric thanking the Senate Ag Committee leadership for this bi-partisan effort. Senator Stabenow (D. Michigan) will thank her Republican counterpart (Cochran of Mississippi) and vice versa. Opponents of the legislation such as Coburn (R.Oklahoma) will lament the lack of true reform and this “lost opportunity”. Those in favor, from both sides of the aisle, will talk about this being the “best bill possible” and while not perfect, it represents a compromise and also is an indication that both sides can work together and move something forward. 

So, while it is not over until it is over, MC predicts another win in the Senate and then a quick trip to President Obama for a signature by Valentine’s Day of 2014.

Questions or comments are welcome, as always!



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