Clements: The Senate Agriculture Committee will consider its version of the farm bill next Wednesday. Andrew Walmsley, American Farm Bureau Federation congressional relations director, says the announcement appears to be a positive step forward.
Walmsley: All good signs as the ranking member and Chairman Roberts met yesterday afternoon to walk through the bill. I believe the bill was shared with members of the ag committee this morning and the initial feedback that we’re starting to hear is positive. So, this whole process in the Senate has moved forward as we expected, as we hoped, in a bipartisan fashion.
Clements: The text of the bill is expected to be released by the end of this week and Walmsley says the Senate could pass the bill by the end of this month.
Walmsley: Leader McConnell has already mentioned that they plan to move the farm bill before July 4th recess in the Senate. So, stars appear to be aligning that we could be moving through the Senate pretty quickly when it comes to farm bill.
Clements: Walmsley says Senate action could prompt the House to move forward with its version of the bill and bring the two together for conference and final passage.
Walmsley: The Republican conference was meeting this morning on immigration. That was one of the demands made when we saw the setback back in May with the House farm bill that a certain segment of the caucus would like to see a vote on immigration which provides an opportunity to hopefully have farm and ag labor involved in that. We support moving that process forward to get a vote, get an agreement there, so we can go ahead and move the House farm bill forward. And, with the movement in the Senate, get the two bills together in conference and back through both chambers before the end of the year.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.