In response, Sen. Stabenow said McCain's amendment would be entertained, but she encouraged legislators to consider the bigger picture when suggesting changes to the bill.
"I think we'll have a lot of discussion on the floor about crop insurance, " Stabenow said, "but we are moving away as a matter of policy from direct subsidies … into an insurance model. It's a very important public private partnership and one of my concerns about carving it up or removing one crop or another is that then we are moving away from a general policy of insurance."
Also expected this week are more amendments regarding Supplemental Nutrition Assistance and conservation compliance, but for now, the White House and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack are supportive of the action on the bill so far.
In a press statement, the White House said it looks forward to the passage of the bill, and appreciates the Senate's bipartisan efforts to put the bill together.
"The Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013 makes meaningful progress toward supporting the Administration's goals," the statement said, "Consistent with the President's Budget, the Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to achieve crop insurance and commodity program savings that are not contained in S. 954, while at the same time strengthening the farm safety net in times of need and supporting the next generation of farmers."
Vilsack, too, expressed support. "I am encouraged that Congress took action this week toward passage of a five-year, comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill," he said, praising Sen. Stabenow for including provisions for conservation, crop insurance and renewable energy.
The Senate will continue debate Tuesday following an hour of morning business at 10 a.m. eastern.
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