Now that the House and Senate have passed versions of the Farm Bill, the legislation begins the process of being combined into one final piece of legislation known as conference. During conference, anything can happen as legislators attempt to negotiate differences between the two bills, so this phase is critically important for defending farmland conservation programs.
Earlier this week, the House of Representatives formally sent their version of the Farm Bill to the Senate for consideration. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., has adamantly opposed passage of the House Farm Bill because of exclusion of nutrition programs and instead insisting upon the Senate version. Because of Congressional rules that any revenue-raising legislation must originate in the House, yesterday the Senate sent the legislation back to the House with the Senate-passed language included as an amendment for House consideration, requesting a conference committee and indicating the Senate would name 12 Senators to the conference committee—7 Democrats and 5 Republicans.
Next the House must formally move to begin the conference and name Representatives to the conference committee. Timing for this is not yet clear as the House continues to weigh options regarding passing a nutrition bill which might take until September.
As Congress continues to move toward a final bill, your advocacy for farmland conservation programs could not be more important.
Contact Your Members of Congress Today!
We need a strong, unified voice for conservation during this critical phase. Visit the American Farmland Trust Action Center today to send a letter to your Senators and Representatives telling them how important conservation is to you and your community both now and in the future.
Senate Confirms Gina McCarthy as EPA Administrator
After a lengthy nomination process, the Senate this week confirmed Gina McCarthy as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Before being nominated and confirmed as administrator, McCarthy served as Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. Prior to that, she served as Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection for the State of Connecticut. As EPA Administrator, McCarthy will play an essential leadership role as the Obama Administration begins to take steps to address climate change.