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WASHINGTON (DTN) -- The Senate is expected to begin floor debate on the farm bill next week, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., told reporters Tuesday afternoon.
The Senate Agriculture Committee passed its version of the farm bill -- officially called the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 -- on a vote of 15-5 Tuesday.
Following a speech to members of the Organic Trade Association, Stabenow said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., would introduce a motion to proceed on the farm bill as early as Wednesday, assuming senators complete debate on the reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act.
Late Tuesday, an email from the Senate Agriculture Committee said the farm bill was filed on the floor. The Senate will have to wait two days before Reid can file a cloture motion and begin official debate on the legislation. That effectively means debate on the bill would begin next week. "Next week, I would expect, we would be on the bill," Stabenow said.
Some Republicans on the Senate Agriculture Committee criticized the bill Tuesday, particularly over the inclusion of target prices. They opposed the federal government continuing to set prices for crops and brought up the risk of a possible World Trade Organization challenge. Still, Stabenow stuck to her argument that this legislation continues to reform farm programs by eliminating direct payments and scoring $24 billion in savings over 10 years.