June 7, 2013
The Senate Thursday invoked cloture on the Farm Bill (S.954) setting the bill up for a vote on final passage on Monday. The vote of 75 to 22 easily surpassed the 60-vote threshold needed to invoke cloture. The next roll call vote will be at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, June 10, on the passage of the Farm Bill.
Senators received a letter signed by 120 state, regional and national organizations, including the American Sheep Industry Association, urging members to vote in favor of the cloture.
"This bill affects 16 million Americans whose livelihoods depend on agriculture," commented the signators of the letter. "We must pass a Farm Bill this year to provide certainty to those individuals. We must cut unnecessary spending. We must ensure that consumers will continue to have a safe, healthy and affordable food supply. We must provide an effective farm and natural resource safety net. We must invest in initiatives that boost exports and spur innovations in new industries."
In opening remarks, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) noted the bill includes 38 amendments that the Senate passed last year and 14 that have been added in debate this year. The cloture motion dropped more than 100 amendments that were pending and cleared the way for final passage. The bill would cut $24 billion from farm spending over 10 years, including a $4 billion reduction to food stamps.
Cloture means that further amendments to the bill will not be allowed, amendments must be relevant to the bill, debate will be limited to 30 hours with no single Senator speaking for more than an hour and the Senate may not move on to other matters until debate and voting on the Farm Bill is completed.