Farm Bill, Military Sexual Assault, Nominations on Reid's Agenda

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Monday his plans for the chamber's business for next month — warning of the potential for another long slog on nominations.  

"The Senate must also consider a number of critical national security and judicial nominations in the coming weeks," Reid said. "With the help of my Republican colleagues, we could process these nominations swiftly and painlessly, without late nights or weekend votes, but as always it will depend on the level of cooperation we receive from the Republicans."  

The Nevada Democrat's latest warning of possible weekend sessions came in the opening minutes of a three-week work period, after only the daily prayer and pledge of allegiance.  

"This work period, the Senate will also consider a farm conference report. This legislation is a compromise reached thanks to the leadership of Chairwoman Stabenow. It'll reduce the deficit and cut waste and fraud, all while protecting hungry children and families."  

Farm bill negotiators were ironing out the final details of the farm agreement Monday afternoon, with the goal of filing the conference report in the House Monday evening, House and Senate sources said.  

Reid also said the chamber would hold a long-awaited debate on how to best combat sexual assault in the military, noting the difference in approaches taken between Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.  

In addition, Reid said Democrats would keep working on reviving extended jobless benefits.  

The first measure on the floor is a measure that would delay hikes in premium increases for flood insurance policyholders. A vote to limit debate on taking up the flood insurance bill is set for later in the day Monday.  

"We've tried for weeks to get an agreement to move forward on it, but we're never quite there," Reid said of the flood insurance measure, adding that work to get such a deal on amendments continually needed "a little more time."  

"That time has run out," Reid said. "Homeowners deserve certainty and the Senate faces a substantial workload over the next three weeks."