Senate Farm Bill Debates
Washington--The Senate opened the floor for debate on the farm bill Monday, addressing crop insurance right off the bat. An amendment by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) was introduced to eliminate taxpayer supported coverage for tobacco producers, followed by broader amendments to cut subsidies for wealthier producers and establish payment caps per farm.
Mary Kay Thatcher, farm program specialist for the American Farm Bureau Federation, predicts crop insurance will receive multiple blows on the Senate floor. “I think you could have people come in and just try to repeal the ability to rely on permanent law to get this bill done every four years or five years,” said Thatcher in an Agritalk interview. “You’re going to have just a whole host of conservation and nutrition type amendments. And if you were a betting person, you’d bet at least 100 amendments will be filed on the bill.”
The Senate farm bill debate is predicted to run into next month. The House is expected to open debate on the farm bill in June.