(NAFB)--While the Senate is expected to begin consideration of the farm bill on Monday - Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow says final votes might take place after Memorial Day. Harry Reid has announced his intention to move forward with the bill - but has also said he will move to immigration reform as soon as the Senate Judiciary Committee finishes mark up on that bill - even if the farm bill isn’t finished. Stabenow isn’t worried floor consideration of the farm bill will be interrupted. She’s optimistic the Senate can finish the farm bill before the immigration bill is done. It doesn’t hurt that Senate Judiciary Chair Patrick Leahy is holding a number of hearings and is a member of the Agriculture Committee.
Once debate does start - Stabenow has asked Senators to come forward with amendments that she wants to hold votes on. She notes the bill approved by the committee incorporated all but one amendment the Senate passed last year. Still - Stabenow expects a debate over Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program cuts. The Senate Ag Committee’s bill would cut the program by four-billion dollars over 10 years. The House Agriculture Committee passed a bill with 20-billion in cuts to SNAP. Stabenow’s not thrilled with the level of cuts in the House bill or how they’re made. In fact - she says she absolutely rejects the levels of cuts the way it’s done in the House.