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Stabenow, Lucas Expect Speedy Farm Bill Passage

House will consider bill Wednesday; Senate expected to follow shortly thereafter

Published on: Jan 29, 2014

Leaders of the House and Senate Ag Committees said they expect quick passage of the recently unveiled farm bill, expected to be considered in the House Wednesday.

In a conference call Tuesday, Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., explained that considering the fiscal and political situation, "not only is this a good farm bill, this is almost a miraculous farm bill."

The bill, which took nearly three years to complete, suffered through a few hiccups, including a failed vote last year in the House. But this time will be different, Lucas says, even though he's always known members of the House on the right and those on the left clearly have diverse opinions on the bill.

House will consider bill Wednesday; Senate expected to follow shortly thereafter (Rep. Frank Lucas/USDA photo)
House will consider bill Wednesday; Senate expected to follow shortly thereafter (Rep. Frank Lucas/USDA photo)

"Can we create in the House a majority that is a coalition of the middle? My gut feeling is – my reading of my colleagues – is yes," Lucas said.

"It's the coalition of the folks in the middle that want to get things done … who will pass this bill," he added.

Lucas will face opponents of the bill like Rep. Rosa DeLauro, who has consistently been an outspoken proponent of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program,

DeLauro said on the House floor this week she will oppose the bill because of the roughly $8 billion in SNAP cuts the bill houses. She estimates they will result in a $90 per month decrease in food support for 1.7 million Americans.

"The savage cuts in this farm bill will push Americans already living on the edge that much closer to the brink," she said.

However, at least two key House members are ready to support the bill: House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

"I have voted against the last two Farm Bills because, in my view, they made farm and food stamp policy worse rather than better, Boehner noted in a statement Monday. "This legislation, however, is worthy of the House’s support."

The Senate has not yet revealed a timeline for consideration, though Sen. Debbie Stabenow says Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will move it "as quickly as possible."

"I'm confident we will have the votes in the Senate," Stabenow said.