Wednesday's votes indicates a strong possibility that the bill, the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 (S.3240), will pass the Senate Thursday. An agreement over which amendments and how many to consider to the bill was a major hurdle for the farm bill.
The Senate will proceed to vote on the last ten amendments on Thursday and then vote on the amended farm bill, which will have a 60-vote threshold for passage.
Wednesday afternoon Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) sounded optimistic that the chamber would pass the farm bill in the next day or so and then proceed to a flood insurance bill.
Just before the Senate adjourned it voted on three amendments by Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.). Two —one on the United States Department of Agriculture moving the date for setting a national sugar import quota and one on wetland conservation requirements— passed while another on repealing funding to a farmers market program failed.
The Senate also approved an amendment by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) over a similar amendment by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.). Both amendments were on limiting premium subsidies by the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation but Thune's amendment prohibited studies of the effect of limiting those subsidies if they created administrative costs. Durbin and Coburn's amendment did not include that prohibition.
The Senate resumes consideration of the remaining amendments when it resumes at 10:30 on Thursday.