The Senate is in recess until 2:15pm Eastern.  I believe the weekly party caucus meetings are being held now, so you can bet there's some horse-trading going on over various farm bill amendments. 

Anyway, at 2:15 they are supposed to take up the farm bill again, but I don't know if they're going to start voting on amendments today. Other items on the calendar (appropriations bills, the Mukasey nomination) might cause the farm bill to be set aside temporarily.  That could happen at anytime, though.

A Moment of Humility

I should just say that I am not a Senate parliamentary expert by any stretch of the imagination.  I don't think I paid a whole lot of attention during civics class.  So I might get some of this wrong.

But here's what I understand will happen at some point in the Farm Bill debate.  We will have votes on many amendments, and then a cloture motion will be filed. 

Amendments Galore

This morning, we’ve had some random speeches on the Farm Bill that haven’t been all that enlightening.  Right now, Harry Reid is pleading for restraint on the offering of amendments.  Given that we’re nearing the end of the year, it is expected that Senators will offer all sorts of amendments that have nothing to do with the farm bill.  We could easily see amendments regarding Iraq, estate tax, etc.  Obviously, this could slow the farm bill down considerably.

Breaking Senate Farm Bill News ...

As the print version of this newsletter went to press, Senators Kent Conrad and Saxby Chambliss forced a phony payment limitation provision into the Senate Agriculture Committee farm bill proposal. Its purpose is to make it harder to pass true reform when the farm bill comes before the full Senate.


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