Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today joined a bipartisan group of 44 Senators in sending a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) calling for a timely and open debate on the Senate farm bill. Harkin is a former Chairman and current senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
"With our constant focus on job creation, we write to urge you to schedule floor consideration of the "Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012' as soon as possible," the Senators wrote. "The bill takes steps to reduce the deficit and decrease government spending by $23 billion. It passed the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry on April 26 with a bipartisan vote of 16 to 5. This sets an example of how Senators can come together in a bipartisan way to craft meaningful, yet fiscally responsible, policy. We believe there is strong support in the full Senate to consider the bill in a fair and open manner that allows Senators the opportunity to offer amendments."
As the letter states, the farm bill passed by the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee extends risk management, conservation, research, trade promotion and nutrition programs that benefit all Americans. Many of these programs will expire at the end of the year if no action is taken to reauthorize the farm bill. The bill will also reduce the deficit by more than $23 billion.
The letter was led by Senators Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) Joining them in signing were Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Kent Conrad (D-N.D), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).