The farm bill approved by the Senate Ag Committee is headed for the Senate floor early next month.
According to committee chair Debbie Stabenow, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated he will bring up the bill the first week of June.
In preparation, Politico is reporting that Stabenow is reaching out to southern lawmakers in an effort to bridge the gap that split her committee last month and put her at odds with allies in the House. According to Politico, backroom talks are focused on putting a modest counter cyclical program together as a safety net for rice and peanuts.
In his weekly conference call with reporters, Senate Ag Committee member Chuck Grassley of Iowa had this reaction.
“I wouldn’t want to say that some changes couldn’t be made. But if you’re talking about going back to target prices for cotton—or maybe more so for peanuts and rice—I think that’s a non-starter,” Grassley says. “If there’s some sort of slight changes—refinements that can be made to what we have—I wouldn’t rule that out.”
Pundits say a potential deal with southerners in the Senate must be considered as a bridge to a future House-Senate conference on the farm bill.
Lawmakers in the House are much more sympathetic to the southern concerns.