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Senate Agriculture Committee Farm Bill Mark-Up Postponed

Late Tuesday, U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) announced plans to postpone the farm bill mark-up hearing originally scheduled for Wednesday. In a statement Sen. Stabenow said, “The Agriculture Committee has made significant progress and have bipartisan agreement on the bulk of the Farm Bill. We are committed to continuing to work together in a bipartisan way as we come to agreement on a few outstanding issues. This is a bill that impacts 16 million jobs and a huge sector of America’s economy, and it is important that we move prudently to create the best possible product.”

Reports have circulated that the meeting may have been cancelled due to Southern Senators who are concerned that the bill will end direct payments, which is a significant issue for rice and cotton growers.

There is also a discrepancy in projected savings over the next 10 years. The committee estimates $23 billion in savings, while a report from the Congressional Budget Office estimates savings will meet or exceed $26 billion.

While the committee has said that a new date and time for the rescheduled hearing will be announced shortly, there is urgency to act now. There may be as few as 60 working days left this year, and it is not certain if a lame-duck Congress would pass the farm bill.