Senate Passes Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act by Huge Margin
After a two day marathon considering 72 amendments to the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012, the Senate immediately voted on the bill.
The vote was a successful one, as all Democrats and both Independents voted for the bill, and in a rare display for this session, 16 Republicans crossed the aisle and did the same. The S. 3240 passed 64 to 35.
30 U.S. Senators voted against the bill, including Alaska's Senator Lisa Murkowski.
Murkowski said in a statement after her vote on the bill, “In 2008, I voted against the five-year Farm Bill because it was too bloated and gave unnecessary handouts to farmers across the country. That bill averaged $61 billion a year. This one averages nearly $97 billion a year. There are new subsidies for maple syrup, a new payout for “gleaners” who find food for food banks, and an increase in the size of ‘rural’ communities that qualify for development grants from 20,000 to 50,000. I don’t consider Juneau or Fairbanks ‘rural.’
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), one of the co-sponsors of the bill along with Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), praised the amended version just ahead of the vote. He also highlighted the legislation's $23 billion in deficit reduction.
The bill now proceeds to the House, where the House will consider their own legislation on July 11th.
House Argicultural Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla) said that he is encouraged by the Senate vote on the bill and said this:
"Although there will be differences between the Senate approach and our own, I hope my colleagues are encouraged by this success when we meet on the 11th to consider our own legislation," Lucas said in a statement. "The House Agriculture Committee will consider a balanced proposal that saves taxpayers billions of dollars, recognizes the diversity of American agriculture, respects the risks producers face, and preserves the tools necessary for food production."