Floor Debate on the Farm Bill

Farm Bill is introduced in the Senate; administration not happy with bill.

The 2007 Farm Bill was brought to the Senate floor Monday afternoon. Senate Ag Committee Chair Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, walked through several parts of the bill and ranking member Senator Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., urged his colleagues to support the measure. The Senate has scheduled time through next week to work on the farm bill.

Acting Ag Secretary Chuck Conner held a press briefing Monday afternoon and told reporters that senior advisors have recommended President Bush to veto the bill in its current form. Conner says the administration is concerned about the bill's funding, the lack of reform to farm programs and other issues that will be covered in the Statement of Administrative Policy that will be delivered to the Senate later this week.

Payment limits and adjusted gross income limits are of great concern to the administration as is the ban on packer ownership of livestock that has been championed by Senator Charles Grassley, R-Iowa. However; Grassley and Senator Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., are introducing an amendment to set a hard cap on payment limits that would alleviate some of the administration's concerns.

"We plan to work at every opportunity with Congress to get a farm bill passed that the president will sign," Conner says. "We'll work with them both on the Senate floor as well as during the conference with the House."

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