The controversial Grassley-Dorgan amendment to the 2007 Farm Bill will be voted on Thursday, and will need 60 votes to pass. Imposing the 60 vote rule is to prevent a filibuster, in which 60 votes would be needed to end debate. According to the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the 60-vote rule was implemented because of the fierce opposition to the amendment by Senator Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark.
The amendment sponsored by Senators Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., would set a hard cap of $250,000 on farm payments and close "loopholes" used to circumvent farm payment limitations. Payments would be tracked to individuals, indirect receipt of subsidies would not be allowed, and people would have to be involved in the labor and management of the farm for 1,000 hours to qualify.
"We should not be in the position of needing a super-majority to pass a thoughtful piece of legislation," Dorgan says.
The other amendment scheduled for a vote Thursday is from Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., that seeks to change the Adjusted Gross Income limit for part-time farmers to $250,000 and for farmers who earn 66% of their income from the farm at $750,000.