by Philip Brasher, CQ Roll Call Staff
Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow says party leaders want lawmakers to work out a bipartisan farm bill during the August recess. “We will sit down informally and begin to negotiate a final resolution for September,” the Michigan Democrat told CQ. “Formally, or informally, we intend to go forward.”
Stabenow, whose remarks came shortly before the House was to vote on a standalone disaster aid bill, resisted taking up that measure before the recess and said she did not think that would hurt Democrats with voters in farm states. “The optics are only for people that aren’t in agriculture. … The people in agriculture want a farm bill. They want us to take August to come to a final agreement on the farm bill. That’s what we’re going to do,” Stabenow said.
She said Senate Democrats would offer a disaster bill in September, if the provisions are not incorporated in a broader deal on the farm bill.
Some members from the House and Senate agriculture members planned to huddle this evening after the House disaster-aid vote to discuss their strategy in coming weeks for dealing with the disaster issue and the farm bill.