The U.S. Senate may not finish the 2007 farm bill before the end of the year.
A "cloture" vote failed to pass the Friday preceding Thanksgiving, so now debate is expected to continue after the holiday recess. The cloture vote is a procedural measure instigated by Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, that would have capped debate on the farm bill to 30 hours and then forced a vote regardless of whether or not a deal has been reached on amendments. The 55-42 vote fell short of the needed 60 votes. Had it passed, the Senate would have held a second vote — this time to approve its version of the bill — after Congress reconvenes on Dec. 3.
The U.S. House of Representatives already passed its version of the farm bill.
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) has offered a substitute amendment to the bill that strikes out House-passed language and inserts language supported by the Senate Agriculture Committee.
Because the cloture vote failed, Congress will need to continue to extend the current farm bill into next year and maybe beyond, according to Harkin.
On the House side, Ranking committee member Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Rep. Jerry Moran (R-KS) introduced a bill on Nov. 15 to extend current farm bill for one year.