Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Tuesday that Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., the head of the Senate Agriculture Committee is optimistic, Roll Call reported. Stabenow has been involved in negotiations with Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., who chairs the House committee.
"Sen. Stabenow thinks that sometime this week the conference could be completed. I hope that's the case," Reid said.
Divisions on the bill include cuts in the supplemental nutrition assistance program, or SNAP, formerly food stamps, and proposed reforms to energy assistance. There are also differences on milk pricing and other agricultural issues.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., told Agri-Pulse he is optimistic a floor vote will be possible next week. Thune said Wednesday he does not think the $4 billion Senate Democrats have agreed to cut from SNAP is enough.