Farm bill vote possible in June
Updated: Friday, June 15, 2012 11:30 AM
Aide says bill a 'top priority' for Sen. Harry Reid
By CAROL RYAN DUMAS
An aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the senator hopes to bring a draft of the 2012 Farm Bill to the Senate floor next month.
"The farm bill is a top priority for Sen. Reid, and he hopes to be able to bring it to the floor in June," Adam Jentleson, Reid's communications director, said.
Jentleson's comments came after a bipartisan group of 44 senators sent a letter to Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., urging them to schedule floor consideration of the Agriculture Reform, Food, Nutrition and Forestry Act of 2012.
Calls to McConnell have not yet been returned.
"We believe there is strong support in the full Senate to consider a bill in a fair and open manner that allows senators the opportunity to offer amendments," the letter stated.
The Senate Ag Committee passed a farm bill that would decrease spending by $23 million with a bipartisan vote of 16-5 on April 26.
"We need to act soon to complete a farm bill in 2012 and provide certainty for farmers, ranchers, rural areas, other stakeholders, and all Americans," the letter stated.
The letter was circulated by Agriculture Committee members Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Mike Johanns, R-Neb., along with Sens. Maria Cantwell D-Wash., and Roy Blunt, R-Mo., The Senate leadership received a similar letter from farm groups last week.
The House Ag Committee has not yet finished work on its five-year farm bill.