Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow sent the Senate farm bill, which includes a provision for food stamp funding, to the House on Thursday in order to form a conference committee.
The bipartisan Senate farm bill passed earlier this year cuts spending by $24 billion. The House sent its version of the farm bill to the Senate this week but some Democrats were hesitant to take the version to conference because the omission of food assistance program funding would not garner enough GOP support, The Hill reports.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted 216-208 last Thursday to approve the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act, though food stamp funding was eliminated from the legislation.
The measure passed with 12 Republicans opposing the bill and with no Democrat support. The farm bill has historically provided farm subsidies and food stamp funding, but after the House failed to pass a farm bill last month, House Republicans stripped the bill of food stamp funding in order to minimize conservative opposition, Fox News reports.
Many agriculture groups opposed the House measure due to the lack of food stamp funding, and several conservative groups said the bill would permanently establish farm commodity programs, making it more difficult to reform them in the future, according to The Hill.
Stabenow said that while the House and Senate farm bills have significant differences, she is confident the two chambers can come to a bipartisan compromise.