The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens

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House session to end Thursday at 3 p.m., no votes Friday

If the House is to start and finish the farm bill this week, the debate and votes will have to move quickly and smoothly.

According to a schedule released by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., the last vote of the week will be held at 3 p.m. on Thursday with no votes expected on Friday.

The House is scheduled to meet at noon today for what’s known as morning hour and move to legislative business at 2 p.m. There will be votes at 6:30 p.m. on some relatively noncontroversial bills, but none on the farm bill.

The House Rules Committee will meet at 5 p.m. today for general debate on the rule on the farm bill, but apparently will not make a decision on the rule at that time.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., are expected to ask for a rule that allows debate on all the subjects that House members want to discuss, but limits the number of amendments on each subject.

Lucas said last week that he believes an open debate and votes on amendments can lead to a consensus that would allow a majority of members to pass the bill.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., noted Friday on the House floor that Democratic members want to be sure they will be able to offer amendments to make changes to the proposed $20.5 billion reduction in spending on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as SNAP or food stamps. Cantor assured him that “there is a commitment to genuine and robust debate on all sides.”

No exact floor schedule has been released, but a Democratic aide said last week that it’s expected that the rule on the farm bill will be debated on Tuesday with a vote the same day. After that vote, general debate on the farm bill would begin, with amendments considered Wednesday and Thursday.

Next week, the House is scheduled to be in session Tuesday through Friday, when members will leave Washington for a July 4 break until July 8.