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June 20th, 2012

Farm Bill In Progress: Senate Vote-o-rama Day Two

By Patty Lovera

Patty Lovera, Assistant Director of Food & Water Watch

Today the Senate continued to plow through amendments to the farm bill, a process that started yesterday. As we mentioned earlier, out of almost 300 amendments introduced, 73 were on the list to get a vote and several of these would make the bill stronger while some would make it significantly weaker.

By the end of the day, here’s where things stood with the six amendments we think are particularly important:

  • Senator McCain’s amendment (S. Amdt. 2199) that would repeal a provision from the 2008 Farm Bill that created a USDA inspection program for domestic and imported catfish PASSED. Food & Water Watch opposed this amendment.
  • Senator Toomey’s amendment (S. Amdt. 2217) that would eliminate the Organic Certification Cost Share program FAILED. Food & Water Watch opposed this amendment.
  • Senator Gillibrand’s amendment (S. Amdt. 2156) that would restore critical funding to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program FAILED. Food & Water Watch supported this amendment.
  • Senator Merkley’s amendment (S. Amdt. S. 2382) that would develop crop insurance products for organic crops PASSED. Food & Water Watch supported this amendment.

The list of amendments up for a vote on Thursday include two from our list:

  • Senator Toomey’s amendment (S. Amdt. 2247) that would exempt community water systems from a requirement to mail drinking water consumer confidence reports. Food & Water Watch OPPOSES this amendment.
  • Senator Sanders’ amendment (S. Amdt. 2310) that would allow states to adopt labeling requirements for genetically engineered foods. Food & Water Watch SUPPORTS this amendment.

After the Senate finishes with their amendment list, they will likely vote to pass the entire farm bill, which finishes their part of the process for now. Next up is the House, which still needs to pass its version of the bill. The June 27 date we anticipated as the start date for that process has already slipped. This afternoon, the chair of the House agriculture committee said the House committee will not work on the farm bill until after the July 4th recess. Stay tuned.


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