There was not much discussion as the full Senate considered and voted on the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 Monday evening, but a few senators had some comments.
Prior to the vote, Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) talked about the hard work the Senate has done to pass the second farm bill in two years and urged the House to do its work. “This bill has been bipartisan from start to finish,” she said. “The House agriculture committee passed a bipartisan farm bill last year but for whatever reason the full House didn’t consider the bill. The good news is this year it looks like it’s going to be different.” Comments by Senator Debbie Stabenow
“It has been 354 days since the Senate passed its last farm bill,” said Senator Amy Klobachar (D-MN). “I would like to get this thing out of the House by the time we head into August.” Comments by Senator Amy Klobachar
Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) was pleased to be part of passing a farm bill in her freshman year. “It is a bill that will send a message to the American people that we need to provide a certainty, we need to do things in a timely fashion,” she said. Comments by Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
“The Senate has again passed a deficit-reducing, bipartisan bill that will help our farms, our families, our economy, our environment,” said Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) upon passage of the bill. “This bill saves more than $24 billion, it maintains important investments in conservation and nutrition, renewable energy and rural development.” Comments by Senator Sherrod Brown
Only one amendment was considered and passed prior to passage of the full bill, by Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) for a pilot program for rural high speed internet. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) took the floor to urge funding to fight Citrus greening, spread by an insect called a psyllid, which exists now in all the top citrus producing states as well as Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana. The senate farm bill establishes a Citrus Disease Research and Development Trust Fund, but it will have no funding in it unless it is included in the final bill and Nelson received a commitment to achieving that goal from Sen. Stabenow. Sen. Bill Nelson and Sen. Stabenow on Citrus Greening