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HOUSE, SENATE RELEASE FARM BILL “FRAMEWORKS”

The U.S. Senate and House released competing “frameworks” for the Farm Bill on Wednesday, a step in the right direction but just one of many steps still needed to get a new bill passed. The current five-year Farm Bill is in a one- year extension that expires Sept. 30.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. and chair of the Senate Ag Committee, said that she hoped Congress could pass a farm bill by the end of the year, which would imply that another extension to the current bill would be needed. She called her committee’s release this week an actual Farm Bill that she believed would win bipartisan support, but observers on all sides are considering it one submission that will have to be reconciled with the House version.

U.S. House Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa. and chair of the House Ag Committee, also released their farm bill framework on Wednesday. It is set for “markup” and review on May 23. The Senate does not have a review scheduled for the Democrats framework.

The heart of the differences between both sides revolve around funding for food stamps, which Democrats are seeking to guarantee won’t be cut in the future, along with the use of previously approved funding for conservation on other items in the Farm Bill.

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