Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Reid Requests Conference with Senate and House on Agriculture Bills

On October 1, Richard Cox reported on The Hill Blog that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) requested a conference committee between representatives from the House and Senate to resolve their differences over the Farm Bill.

Reid named seven Democrats and five Republicans to the conference, all who serve on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.  The conferees are Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), John Boozman  (R-Ark.), and John Hoeven (R-N.D.).  House conferees have not yet been decided upon; however, under congressional protocol, Frank Lucas, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, would preside over the negotiations.

The existing Farm Bill expired on Tuesday, as lawmakers had not reached an agreement on a new bill.  The Senate passed a bipartisan farm bill earlier in the year which would reduce spending by $24 billion, mostly through restructuring farm subsidies into a crop insurance program.  The House passed a similar bill; however, it reduced food assistance by nearly $40 billion and separated food assistance programs from the agriculture policy.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Stabenow’s statements on the conference can be found on the Agriculture Committee website.  Richard Cox’s original report can be found on The Hill Blog.  For more information on the Farm Bill, see the Farm Bill section of the Senate Agriculture Committee website and the House Agriculture Committee website, as well as our past blog posts from June 7,  June 11, June 20, and July 12.

Written by Alyssa Looney – Research Assistant
The Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center
October 1, 2013

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