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Senators agree to cut off farm bill amendments, limit floor debate

Wednesday Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) filed a motion to cut off debate on the farm bill by Friday. And he and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed that no more amendments to the bill can be filed.

But, so far, the Senate hasn't agreed to vote on a single amendment. During the rest of the night Reid and McConnell and their staffs are expected to try to reduce the number of amendments that will come up for a vote. So far, more than 250 amendments from both parties are on the list that the leaders will try to winnow to a manageable number.

By the end of the day Wednesday, farm group leaders remained worried about the fate of the 2007 farm bill.

"Enough is enough," said National Farmers Union President Tom Buis. "Move a bill. It expired in September."

Late on Wednesday, Senate Ag Committee Chairman Tom Harkin indicated also Reid filed cloture on the bill, effectively limiting the timeframe for debate on the bill. The Iowa Democrat said it's a way that progress can be made on the farm bill in the face of what he calls a continued effort by Republicans to "throw up obstacles to delay this measure.

"The Majority Leader has filed cloture to place a limit on [Republicans'] delaying tactics, and I fully support this action as a necessary effort to enact a new farm bill," Harkin added Wednesday.

Wednesday Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) filed a motion to cut off debate on the farm bill by Friday. And he and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed that no more amendments to the bill can be filed.

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