Amendments and Administration Dominate Day Two of Farm Bill Debate

Several amendments were offered to the Senate Farm Bill Tuesday; and the Statement of Administration Policy was received.

The Statement of Administration Policy that was sent to the Senate Tuesday spelled out the measures it wants in order for the President to sign the Farm Bill. Among them were reform of marketing loan benefits, elimination of tax increases, making it easier to defend trade challenges and reflect the President's fiscal year 2008 budget.

Ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., issued a statement expressing his disappointment at the Administration's strong discontent with the Senate bill.

"I truly believe we have made serious reforms and meaningful improvements to current law considering the budget constraints we are facing," Chamblis said. "However, we will make an effort to address their concerns as we continue to debate the measure on the Senate floor."

The Dorgan-Grassley Amendment was introduced, which would set a hard cap of $250,000 on farm payments. The amendment would require farm payment recipients to be "actively engaged" in farming and would end payments to landowners who do not participate in the operation of farming on their land.

Also attached to the bill was the Renewable Fuel Standard that would require 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels be used by 2022. It passed the Senate earlier this year as part of the Energy Bill, but that bill remains stalled.

One measure that will not be part of the Farm Bill is the AgJobs bill that would allow many undocumented workers gain legal status and set up a temporary program for future farm labor. Senator Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., decided that it could not successfully pass as part of the Farm Bill and would muddy the waters of an already complex piece of legislation.

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