Congressional lawmakers are feeling pressure to act following the turmoil of the government shutdown — and that will help get a farm bill passed this year, DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Friday.
The bill has been hung up for months over proposed food stamp cuts. A House bill would cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps, by $40 billion over 10 years, while the Senate version would cut $4 billion.
Despite the deep divisions, Klobuchar told reporters she was optimistic a deal would happen.
"The country just got really, really angry at some people who were being obstructionist," Klobuchar said Friday morning at Second Harvest Heartland food bank in Golden Valley. The public, she added, is "crying out for people to get things done."
Klobuchar is one of three Minnesotans on a legislative committee that will hash out differences between the House and Senate versions of the five-year farm bill. Democratic representatives Collin Peterson and Tim Walz also sit on the panel.
Passing a bill by year's end depends on how GOP leadership and tea party forces react following the turmoil of the government shutdown, Peterson said on MPR's The Daily Circuit.
"Did these folks learn their lesson, and are they going to stand down, let us do our work and get a bill that can pass both bodies and get this thing done?" Peterson asked. "Or are they going to be so upset because of what happened to them that they're going to double down and blow the farm bill up too? The jury is out at this point."
The committee will meet for the first time on Oct. 28, Klobuchar said.
President Barack Obama on Thursday listed the farm bill as one of his top three priorities for passage by year's end.