The deadlock is broken and voting is expected to start this afternoon in the U.S. Senate on dozens of amendments to the farm bill. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says about 300 amendments were proposed to the legislation but the field has been narrowed to 73.
The votes will continue on those amendments through tomorrow with a final Senate vote on the bill by week’s end. “My amendment to cap marketing loan gains is among those 73,” Grassley says.
“We shouldn’t have uncapped commodity programs. This reform would set a hard cap of $75,000 on marketing loan gains.” The farm and food bill is worth a half-trillion dollars, sets farm policy for the next five years and includes 80-billion dollars for the federal food stamp program.
Grassley, a Republican, says his amendment puts limits in place. “This amendment would bring about more defensibility of this farm bill by making sure that the big farmers aren’t getting a massive amount of the farm safety net support.”
While he’s encouraged that the list of amendments has been significantly narrowed from around 300 to 73, Grassley says there’s still quite a lot to consider in the thousand-page farm bill.
“They’re all going to move forward, but will they all be adopted? I don’t know,” Grassley says. He says a few of the amendments are what’s called non-germane, meaning, they’re for issues that are not related to the farm bill. The main bill contains a change in direction as farm policy shifts away from offering farmers subsidies and instead stresses an expanded crop insurance program.
Legislators say ending direct payments, and other cost-cutting measures in the bill, should save more than 23-billion dollars over the next decade.