Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), one of the farm bill's four principal negotiators, expressed optimism last night that the conference committee will be able to wrap up its work on the legislation this week. Cochran told Pro's Bill Tomson "the signs are good" that the conferees will be able to "report out a bill" in the coming days, sending it for separate floor consideration in the Senate and House.
The principal conferees have had to tackle numerous divisive issues, ranging from how much to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to how to calculate farm subsidies, but Cochran suggested those issues have been resolved. The senator's comments match what congressional aides and lobbyists are saying: The conference committee is tentatively scheduled to begin deliberating the farm bill compromise as early as Thursday with an eye toward finishing up by Friday.
"We're ready to go to the floor," he said.