By: Kristen Daum
WASHINGTON – With unified support from Minnesota's and North Dakota's delegations, the 2012 farm bill passed the U.S. Senate today.
The Senate voted 64-35 in favor of the bill this afternoon, an action that puts the legislation in the House's hands.
The Senate support came from 46 Democrats, 16 Republicans and the Senate's two independents.
Minnesota Democratic Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar were quick to praise the Senate's action on the legislation, which they said represented a "fiscally responsible" approach to future farm and nutrition funding.
"I'm proud that our farmers are doing their part to address the deficit by eliminating direct payments, but I'm also pleased that we passed a strong safety net – in the form of crop insurance subsidies – to protect producers when a bad year hits," Franken said in a statement after the vote.
The bill also preserves the sugar program and encourages conservation and renewable energy projects, Franken said.
Klobuchar – a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, which helped craft the bill – said “today’s bipartisan vote is a victory for this critical legislation."
“I worked hard to ensure the legislation supported a strong sugar program, and I will continue to work to move this legislation forward,” Klobuchar said in a statement.
Sens. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and John Hoeven, R-N.D., also voted in favor of the 2012 farm bill.
Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, the ranking Democrat on the House Ag Committee, told The Forum’s editorial board last week that he expected the farm bill to pass the House by the end of this summer, assuming there are no hang-ups on the legislation.