Dem senator: Budget reconciliation could unravel 2014 farm bill

Dem senator: Budget reconciliation could unravel 2014 farm bill
© Lauren Schneiderman

Sen. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowRacial reparations at the USDA Excellence Act will expand mental health and substance use treatment access to millions Senate crafts Pelosi alternative on drug prices MORE (D-Mich.) lobbied Republicans Monday against including language in a final budget agreement that could potentially unravel the 2014 farm bill.

At a public meeting of the House-Senate budget conference committee, Stabenow applauded Senate Republicans for not including a reconciliation instruction to the Senate Agriculture Committee in the budget they adopted in late March.

The House budget, by contrast, issues reconciliation instructions to 13 authorizing committees, including the House Agriculture Committee, which has jurisdiction over food stamps, nutrition programs and resources for farmers.

Republicans are now negotiating a deal that merges the two resolutions. 


“We have over 400 different organizations, led by the American Farm Bureau and others, who have asked us not to include the House language in the final document,” said Stabenow, who chaired the Senate Agriculture Committee when she struck a deal with Republicans that produced the 2014 farm bill.

The five-year farm bill, she said, cut more than 100 programs and billions of dollars more than the amount required under sequestration.

“We have made the cuts, more than any other committee, beyond reconciliation,” she said.

Senate Republicans, in their blueprint, have signaled they want to use reconciliation for sending a repeal of ObamaCare to President Obama’s desk. The budget procedure can be used to pass major policy changes and only requires a majority vote in the Senate.

House GOP leaders, on the other hand, have repeatedly said they want the reconciliation process to be flexible.

In order to strike a budget deal, House and Senate Republicans will have to find some sort of compromise on not only the topline numbers, but how to employ reconciliation.