Reid requests conference with House on agriculture bills

The existing farm bill expired Tuesday because lawmakers hadn’t reached an agreement — the government also shutdown for a similar reason.

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The Senate passed a bipartisan farm bill earlier this year that reduced spending by $24 billion, mostly through reforming farm subsidies into a crop insurance program. The House took an unprecedented approach by separating food assistance programs from the agriculture policy.

The House’s agriculture portion looks similar to the Senate’s version, but House Republicans slashed food assistance by nearly $40 billion, drawing sharp criticism from Democrats.

Reid named Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Max Baucus (D-Mont.) Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), John Boozman (R-Ark.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) to the conference committee.

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