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By a 15-5 vote the Senate Ag Committee voted to approve the 2013 farm bill, authored jointly by Committee Chair Senator Debbie Stabenow, above, and Ranking Member Senator Thad Cochran. The markup lasted about three hours, due in large part to the similarities between the proposed 2013 farm bill and the passed 2012 bill, as Senator Stabenow noted in her opening remarks:
Highlights of the Senate Ag-passed farm bill include elimination of the 2013 farm bill, a transition to risk management tools supporting farmers only when disaster has impacted them, and spending cuts totaling more than $23 billion. Those savings are achieved primarily by cutting unnecessary subsidies, ending duplication by consolidating programs, and fighting misuse and fraud in food assistance programs.
The Senate ultimately did not link conservation compliance with crop insurance, but an effort to connect the two is expected to be more prominent in the House Ag Committee markup.
The farm bill passed by the Senate Ag Committee was also introduced officially on the Senate floor the same day it passed committee, and sources on Capitol Hill speculate a vote could happen as early as next week.