Senate Continues Work on Farm Bill
Work on the farm bill continued in the Senate Wednesday. The vote on final passage of the measure is expected this (Thursday) afternoon. Majority Leader Harry Reid had actually expressed hope the Senate would finish the bill Wednesday. They didn't quite get that far - but several additional amendments were voted on. Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn was successful in his attempt to limit subsidies for millionaires and raise premiums for farmers with an adjusted gross income in excess of 750-thousand dollars. But Coburn's effort to reduce funding for the Market Access Program and restrict the use of program funds was unsuccessful. The amendment was opposed by 80 members of the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports.
In other roll call votes - Senators rejected amendments to eliminate the authority of the Secretary to increase the amount of grants provided to eligible entities relating to providing access to broadband telecommunications services in rural areas, to repeal the forest legacy program and to repeal the Conservation Stewardship Program and the Conservation Reserve Program. Also rejected was an attempt to reform the sugar program - and amendments to eliminate biorefinery, renewable chemical and biobased product manufacturing assistance and to provide for emergency food assistance. The Senate approved an amendment to establish highly erodible land and wetland conservation compliance requirements for the Federal crop insurance program.
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