By The Hill Editors - 06/03/13 11:07 PM EDT
Sen. Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowWhat Senate backers aren’t saying about the GMO “compromise” bill Overnight Regulation: FDA raises concerns over GMO labeling bill FDA concerned with GMO labeling 'compromise' MORE (D-Mich.) is on a mission to have a farm bill signed this year.
The Agriculture Committee chairwoman will get closer to her goal when the Senate passes her bipartisan legislation this week or next.
This time around, there is more optimism that a bill will be enacted. Stabenow has formed a new partnership with Sen. Thad CochranThad CochranOvernight Finance: Senate sends Puerto Rico bill to Obama | Treasury, lawmakers to meet on tax rules | Obama hits Trump on NAFTA | Fed approves most banks' capital plans Senate Appropriations speeds through spending bills Week ahead: Senators face unfinished defense work MORE (R-Miss.), who is now ranking member of the Agriculture panel.
The 2013 farm bill passed Stabenow’s panel 15-5, and it has the votes to pass the Senate floor.
House Republican leaders, meanwhile, have committed to a vote on farm legislation later this summer.
The House version will be different from the Senate’s. Conservatives in both chambers have expressed concern about the bill’s funding, most notably of food stamps.
Stabenow says the time for reform is now. In an op-ed in The Hill last month, she wrote, “There can be no more kicking the can down the road. We must pass a farm bill this year to provide certainty to the 16 million Americans whose jobs rely on agriculture.”
She highlights that the Senate bill ends direct payment of subsidies and would yield more than $24 billion in savings.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and ranking member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) have introduced their own bipartisan bill, and regularly consult with their Senate counterparts.
The road to President Obama’s desk will be bumpy for the farm bill, but Stabenow’s aggressive push has improved its chances.