Could the farm bill be just steps away from first passage in the Senate? Late last week the Senate voted to invoke cloture and easily achieved the 60 votes needed to move forward with S. 954, the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013. American Farm Bureau Federation farm program specialist Mary Kay Thatcher says just one day after receiving a letter drafted by the AFBF and more than 100 other agricultural organizations urging the Senate to vote for cloture, senators passed the motion.
“We had a great victory this morning in cloture. Cloture is what they have to do sometimes to stop a filibuster from going on to be able to move a bill. We needed 60 votes, we got 75; I think that’s a really strong showing that people are interested in moving this farm bill along.”
Thatcher says the farm bill’s passage is needed this year more than ever, after the push was not quite big enough last year. The bill is now very close to wrapping up in the Senate.
“We are still a year late in completing the farm bill, we couldn’t get it done last year. It was really important that we move it through the Senate, looks like we could have the final votes on the farm bill Monday then that will also give a shove to the House that they’re the remaining entity to get this done. I think it will be a good thing. Farmers need some certainty in knowing what kind of safety net is going to be in place.”
Thatcher expects only 10 to 20 more amendments will be offered in the coming hours and then the bill could be br passed.
“Hopefully we can tie this up with a pretty ribbon by Monday night and then presumably in about two weeks, three weeks at the most I suspect, we will have discussion about the bill on the House floor. That will be a very interesting discussion looking for pretty much an open process over there, so I wouldn’t be surprised at all if we don’t have at least 300 amendments offered to the Farm Bill on the House floor. We are going to need lots of help from the country in making sure we get our input in to our members of the House.”