Reid reintroduces Senate ‘placeholder’ farm bill
(adds NMPF comments)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) reintroduced the five-year farm bill approved by the full Senate last summer. Speaking on the Senate floor, Reid said he plans to take up the bill, but he did not give a timetable.
Senate Ag Committee chair Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) Michigan said Reid considers the farm bill as one of several privileged, top priority bills. The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act (S.2340) cleared the Senate with overwhelming, bipartisan support on June 21, 2012.
The House Ag Committee also approved its own version of the farm bill, but the full House failed to act on their version of the bill before the legislative session ended in January. As part of a “fiscal cliff” deal, lawmakers voted to extend certain provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill temporarily until a new program could be adopted.
Stabenow has said she is committed to convening a Senate Ag Committee mark-up as soon as possible. The legislation introduced by Reid will be used as a placeholder for whatever language comes out of the Senate Ag Committee during the 113th Congress.
“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s decision to put the farm bill near the top of the list of things to do in 2013 is good news for America’s dairy farmers, who need leaders in the Senate and House to renew their push this year for a better farm bill,” said Jerry Kozak, National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) president and CEO.
“Senator Reid introduced the 2013 farm bill as S. 10, making it part of a short list of priority pieces of legislation for action in the Senate,” Kozak explained. “Reid’s decision recognizes that the dairy policy reforms contained in the bill, along with other provisions in the measure, passed with overwhelming, bipartisan support last summer. The bill’s Dairy Security Act will give farmers a better safety net while reducing taxpayer costs at a time when Congress is searching for ways to trim federal spending.
“We look forward to working with Senator Reid, as well as with Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow and new ranking minority member Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), as the Committee updates the Farm Bill in the coming weeks. We will continue our bipartisan efforts in both the Senate and House to get a five-year farm bill passed that provides our producers the security and stability they need.”