The federal Farm Bill is expected to go to a vote this week, despite fears time would run out and Congress would adjourn for the holidays before passing the key legislation. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says the bill was being delayed because so many amendments were being tacked on that had nothing to do with farming.
Grassley says: "We have an agreement with what may seem like a lot of amendments, 20 Democrat amendments, 20 Republican amendments, but that’s not so many that we should be able to get the bill done this week. By the way, those 40 amendments are trimmed down from well over 200 amendments."
Grassley says one of his amendments should go to a vote in the next day or so. It would limit subsidy payments to $250,000 per farm per year. "There’s no doubt that the vote will be close, Grassley says, "there are a lot of members who have yet to decide their vote, but I’m confident senators will see the importance of this amendment and vote to include a real cap on farm payments."
Grassley says another one of his amendments was offered on Monday. "It’s one of the 20 Republican amendments I talked about. The main part of this amendment would create the agricultural competition task force to study problems specifically in agriculture competition, and then make recommendations to the Justice Department to create agriculture guidelines when considering further consolidation," Grassley says.
Another amendment proposed to the Farm Bill on Monday would raise the mandate on biofuels production — Iowa is the nation’s leader in ethanol production. Meanwhile, a provision in the Energy Bill (which is also still being debated) would see the mandate rise from requiring refiners to use nine-billion gallons of biofuels in 2008 to 36-billion gallons by 2022.