When the Senate moves it apparently doesn't mess around. At least that's how it appears with the 2012 Farm Bill. Just two days ago Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., brought the measure to the floor for consideration and initial debate, but for the bill to move forward 60 Senators must vote for cloture. While Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., is confident the 60 votes are there, the rubber may meet the road on that question today when that vote could take place.
UPDATE: The Senate voted 90-8 for cloture. The bill - S.3240 - will now move forward to amendments and debate, a process that Stabenow says could last two to three weeks. The good news is that the Senate is moving forward on the 2012 Farm Bill.
After the cloture vote the essential work begins with a potentially wide range of amendments could be raised and considered. Stabenow, when discussing the measure before it came to the floor, says she believes debate would last two to three weeks. The busy, and shortening, Senate calendar could influence that.
Meanwhile, more groups and organizations are weighing in on the Senate measure that could spend $969 billion over the next 10 years, but still cut overall spending by $23.6 billion compared to the current bill.
The Club for Growth, a group that promotes itself as being in favor of economic freedom, is urging Senators to vote "no" on its version of the 2012 Farm Bill. In comments on its Web site, the group says the bill "makes some material reforms and spending cuts, but it still enables the government to maintain a heavy and unacceptable presence in various parts of the private sector."
The group likes the 2012 Farm Bill to the "Stimulus, ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank and Cap and Trade" noting that the "massive bill" asserts too much government control in the private sector. The group says the 1,010 pages of the farm bill with its 12 titles deals with "unrelated programs ranging from commodity subsidies, forestry programs, community development, broadband service, food stamps, and conservation."
The group advocates breaking up the farm bill so each part can be judged on its merits rather than "tying them together for political reasons."