Senators cleared a major hurdle in negotiations on a multibillion-dollar farm bill Thursday, agreeing to pare down a list of hundreds of proposed amendments.
Democrats and Republicans have been arguing for weeks over procedural issues, holding up the five-year bill that would extend and expand crop and dairy subsidies along with popular nutrition aid programs.
The agreement, which allows each party to offer 20 amendments, could enable the Senate to pass the legislation before the end of the year. The House passed its version in July.
"I'm happy with this agreement," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on the Senate floor Thursday. "It's going to be a lot of work, but we're going to finish the farm bill before we leave unless something untoward happens."
Reid had scheduled a vote to cut off debate for Friday, a move that Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said put pressure on Republicans to come to a deal.