Senate punts on addressing farm-bill rice, peanut issues


Rice and peanut farmers said the amendment was only a "starting point" toward addressing their concerns, which had prompted four Southern senators to vote against the farm bill in committee. The farmers were seeking higher target prices than those specified in the amendment.

Conrad decided to stop pushing for the amendment after talking with Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowDems want climate change, tax hikes in infrastructure deal Critics accuse EPA of weakening pollution rule for Pentagon Democratic proposals to overhaul health care: A 2020 primer MORE (D-Mich.).

"After speaking with Sen. Stabenow, Sen. Conrad determined the best strategy would be to withhold the amendment and pursue improvements in conference committee negotiations," a Democratic aide said.

The Senate will be considering other controversial amendments dealing with farm subsidies, including several that cap payments to wealthy farmers. The bill is scored as reducing the deficit by $23.6 billion over 10 years, but that amount includes cuts to food stamps, and the farm subsidy cuts are smaller than the administration had been seeking.