Senate vote pushes farm bill debate into the new year

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WASHINGTON – A vote to end Senate debate on the farm bill failed Wednesday, Dec. 19, essentially postponing further action on the measure until after the holiday recess.

The 54-43 vote to end debate was just six short of the 60 votes needed to free the measure for a vote.

Once again, both political parties blamed the other for the delay. Republicans argue the new farm bill is too expensive and Democrats counter that the GOP version would not provide an adequate safety net for farmers and doesn’t provide enough money for conservation.

Senate Agriculture Committee chairman, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said the farm bill is “being held hostage to a game of politics.” In return, Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., said farm legislation would be a top priority when legislators return from the holiday recess in late January.

After the Senate approves its version of the farm bill, the measure must still move to a conference committee to hammer out a final version.

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