The U.S. House of Representatives sent its farm bill that combined its farm program and nutrition bill to the Senate on Monday. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid followed on Tuesday with a request for a conference committee to resolve the differences between the House bill and the Senate version. He also named conferees – reappointing the seven Democrats and five Republicans first named in August. All 12 are members of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

The Democrats are:

  • Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (MI)
  • Max Baucus (MT)
  • Michael Bennet (CO)
  • Sherrod Brown (OH)
  • Tom Harkin (IA)
  • Amy Klobuchar (MN)
  • Patrick Leahy (VT)

The Republicans include:

  • Agriculture Ranking Member Thad Cochran (MS)
  • Pat Roberts (KS)
  • Saxby Chambliss (GA)
  • John Boozman (AR)
  • John Hoeven (ND)

The reappointment of Senate conferees paves the way for House Speaker John Boehner to name his conferees, which is expected next week. The House bill reauthorizes nutrition programs for three years and the farm program for five years. That approach, if kept in the conference report, could set the programs on a permanent path of separation.