Senate calls for conference committee with House on agriculture bills

The House could not pass it’s comprehensive agriculture bill because Republicans demanded more cuts to the food stamps program, while Democrats said the bill cut too much.

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Lawmakers need to reach a deal in September otherwise the existing farm programs will continue to be funded unchanged. The bipartisan Senate farm bill was able to reduce spending by ending a direct payment program — farm subsidies — and replaced the program with a crop insurance reimbursement program.

If the House agrees to the conference committee, lawmaker will be able to work out major differences between the House and Senate measures and reduce spending levels for agriculture programs.

The Senate also passed several nominations by unanimous consent before adjourning and a handful of minor bills. A list of the bills follow: 

- Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rogers’ (R-Wash) H.R. 267 would increase the exemption of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license requirements of hydroelectric power projects from 5,000 to 10,000 kilowatts.

- Rep. Scott Tipton's (R-Colo.) H.R. 678 would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to contract for the development of small conduit hydropower at Bureau facilities.

- Rep. Dan Benishek’s (R-Mich) H.R. 1171 would authorize the transfer of federal surplus property to a state agencies for veteran services.

- Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s (D-Hawaii) H.R. 1344 would expedite TSA screening for veterans who are injured or have a disability.

- Rep. Jeff Denham’s (R-Calif.) H.R. 2576 would require the Department of Transportation to publicly issue, free of charge, regulations regarding pipeline safety.

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