Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., has dropped his objection to a limit on amendments to the Farm Bill. That paves the way for an end to the week-long stalemate. McConnell is working with Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on a list of acceptable amendments.
"We hope to be able to pare that list down and get started," McConnell says. "I think there is pretty broad bipartisan agreement that we would like to get the farm bill finished."
Twenty-two amendments are already pending. Among the first to be considered will be farm payment limits and a wholesale overhaul of farm programs. Reid is concerned because time is running short for the Farm Bill.
"We have three very short weeks after Thanksgiving before Christmas," Reid says. "We're not going to have time to work on the Farm Bill. We have to take care of all our appropriations matters. Funding for the government runs out on the fourteenth, so we have some must do things that run out at the end of this year."