The Senate on Wednesday rejected the first two amendments to the farm bill to come up for consideration.
An amendment to repeal the sugar program was defeated on a 50-46 vote. The Senate also voted 65-33 to defeat an amendment that would have drastically cut spending for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—or food stamps—and turned funding authority for the program over to the states.
Meanwhile, Senate leaders continue to negotiate on a broader package of amendments to be considered. Observers say that if no agreement on that package is reached, debate on the Farm Bill will close for now. If an agreement is reached, those observers say debate will proceed, with a final vote likely within the next two weeks.
Meanwhile, Southern senators continue to express concerns with the new safety net in the farm bill, saying the protection offered to rice and peanut growers is inadequate.