Deal reached on farm bill amendments

Top Senate Republicans and Democrats reached a deal Monday on which amendments to consider for a farm bill currently before the Senate. 

"This is not a great agreement, but it's a good agreement," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

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Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), the cosponsor of the farm bill with Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), said the deal "is really an example of the Senate coming together to agree to get things done."

Under the agreement, at 2:15 on Tuesday the Senate will begin voting on 73 amendments, some of them unrelated to the bill. One amendment, for instance, sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) would cut off federal funding for presidential party conventions. Another, by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) restores some funding to the federal food stamp program that the farm bill takes out. An amendment by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) requires the Department of Defense to release a report on the impact of $500 billion worth of funding cuts. Another amendment by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) allows the Secretary of Agriculture to issue grants to promote the maple syrup industry. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has an amendment in the agreed-to 73 amendments which stops anyone making over $250,000 of adjusted gross income from receiving any kind of payment from the farm bill.

Eight amendments are subject to a 60-vote threshold. After the Senate has voted on all the amendments, it will hold a vote on passage of the farm bill with a 60-vote threshold.

The amendments with a 60-vote threshold are Toomey #2247, Sanders #2256, Coburn #2214, Boxer #2456, Johanns #2372, Murray #2455, McCain #2162, and Rubio #2166.

The deal means that the $969 billion farm bill has overcome a crucial hurdle in making its way through the Senate. Recent legislation has stalled in the chamber because senators could not come to an agreement over how many and which amendments to consider attaching. Until Monday's announcement, the farm bill looked like it could be another victim of this pattern. Republicans and Democrats had introduced hundreds of amendments to the farm bill over the last two weeks, many of them not directly related to agriculture and facing strong opposition from the other party.

Reid suggested in a floor speech earlier in the day that if the Senate could not reach an agreement on amendments to the farm bill he would have to file cloture. Thus far Reid has been using a procedural move to bring up a number of amendments while blocking others, like one by Paul which would have defunded aid to Pakistan unless it freed a doctor who helped find Osama bin Laden.

A week earlier Coburn complained that Reid's process of moving amendments through the procedural maneuver was too slow. Coburn asked if there would be a way to bring a larger number of amendments up.

"The reason we had these two votes this morning is while we're working on coming up with a final list of amendments, why sit around here and twiddle our thumbs — at least through the process we've gotten two major amendments out of the way," Reid said on Wednesday in response to Coburn.

Below is a complete list of the amendments:

- Akaka #2440 (highly fractionated tribal lands);

- Akaka #2396 (tribal relations office);

- Baucus #2429 (Livestock);

- Bingaman #2364 (multi-state aquifers);

- Brown (OH) #2445 (rural development);

- Cantwell #2370 (pulse pilot);

- Casey #2238 (technical/study -federal milk marketing)

- Coons #2426 (poultry insurance study);

- Feinstein #2422 (conservation innovation grants);

- Feinstein #2309 (insurance recall);

- Gillibrand #2156 (SNAP);

- Hagan #2366 (crop insurance - plain language);

- Kerry #2187 (commercial fishermen);

- Landrieu #2321 (rural development loans);

- Manchin #2345 (dietary study);

- Merkley #2382 (organic crop insurance);

- Schumer #2427 (acer);

- Stabenow #2453 (NAP);

- Udall(CO) #2295 (bark beetle);

- Warner #2457 (rural broadband);

 - Wyden #2442 (microloans);

- Wyden #2388 (farm to school);

- Leahy #2204 (rural development);

- Nelson(NE) #2242 (rural housing);

- Klobuchar #2299 (transportation study);

 - Carper #2287 (poultry feed research);

 - Sanders #2254 (biomass);

- Thune #2437 (crop insurance);

- Durbin-Coburn #2439 (crop insurance);

- Snowe #2190 (milk marketing order reform);

 - Ayotte #2192 (value added grants);

- Collins #2444 (dairy);

- Grassley #2167 (pay cap marketing loans);

- Sessions #2174 (SNAP);

- Nelson(NE) #2243 (SNAP);

- Sessions #2172 (SNAP);

- Paul #2181 ($250,000 income limit);

- Alexander #2191 (wind loans);

- McCain #2199 (catfish);

- Toomey #2217 (organic/AMA);

- DeMint #2263 (broadband funding);

- DeMint #2262 (SoS Free MKT);

- DeMint #2268 (Loan guarantees);

- DeMint #2276 (checkoffs);

- DeMint #2273 (broadband);

- Coburn #2289 (MAP);

- Coburn #2293 (Limit Millionaires);

- Kerry #2454 (North Korea);

- Kyl #2354 (North Korea);

- Lee #2313 (Forest Legacy);

- Lee #2314 (CSP/CRP cut);

- Boozman #2355 (Ag research, law info);

- Boozman #2360 (TEFAP);

- Toomey #2226 (energy title);

- Toomey #2433 (sugar);      

- Lee Motion to Recommit (FY 2008 levels);

- Johnson(WI) Motion to Recommit;

- Chambliss #2438 (conservation crop insurance);

- Chambliss #2340 (sugar);

- Chambliss #2432 (FMPP);

- Ayotte #2195 (GAO crop insurance fraud report);

- Blunt #2246 (veterans);

- Moran #2403 (food aid);

- Moran #2443 (beginning farmers);

- Vitter #2363 (pets);

- Toomey #2247 (paperwork);

- Sanders #2310 (genetically engineered food);

- Coburn #2214 (convention funding);

- Boxer #2456 (aerial inspections);

- Johanns #2372 (aerial inspections);

- Murray # 2455(sequestration);

- McCain #2162 (Sequestration report - DoD); and

- Rubio #2166 (RAISE Act).


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