Farm Bill: Senate Ag Committee Promises a “Markup” Bill on June 13 – DTN

U.S. Capitol, Washington D.C. Photo: Suranga Weeratunga

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said early Thursday that their committee will mark up a new farm bill on Wednesday, June 13.

The markup of the five-year bill will be held at 9:30 a.m. in Room 328A of the Russell Senate Office Building.

Roberts and Stabenow did not announce a date for releasing the text of the bill, saying only that legislative text and summaries will be available on the committee website “prior to the meeting.”

The lack of a specific date to release the bill indicates that the committee is still having trouble reaching agreement on some parts of it and may also still be waiting for scores of its cost from the Congressional Budget Office.

A knowledgeable Senate aide told DTN late Wednesday that the major problem is with the key commodity title that governs farm programs and particularly with the Agriculture Risk Coverage program. The aide also said that CBO scores are holding up release of the bill. The aide did not provide further details on the issues.

But the aide said it is also possible that the offices of members will be given the bill text Thursday and that it will be released to the public by late Thursday or on Friday.

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But whatever problems they are encountering, Roberts and Stabenow emphasized that their bill will be bipartisan, an indication that it will not contain any dramatic changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

“We are pleased to announce the Senate Agriculture Committee’s timely consideration of the 2018 farm bill,” Roberts and Stabenow said in a joint statement.

“It has been more than a year of traveling across the country listening to farmers, ranchers, rural communities, and those in need. Now the time has come to put what we’ve learned into a bipartisan bill that will provide much-needed certainty for agriculture, families, and rural America.”

The House Agriculture Committee bill became a Republican-only bill over its SNAP changes. It did not get any Democratic votes on the House floor and failed to get enough Republican votes to pass, in part due to internal Republican conflicts over immigration.

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