Senators, on Wednesday, voted 79-17 to invoke cloture and thus limit debate on the conference report to the 2010 Energy-Water appropriations bill. Debate could last through this week. So far, only two of the 12 regular spending bills for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1 have been enacted: the Agriculture bill and the legislative branch bill, which carried a stopgap continuing resolution keeping the rest of the government funded through the end of this month.
It's uncertain whether funding for locks and dams, an important issue for agriculture, is in the bill. The agriculture industry has fought long and hard to get our nation's locks and dams repaired and upgraded so they can handle the huge crops that are transported on our major waterways. At many locks barge drafts have to be broken down because just a few barges can go through the lock at one time. This slows the transportation of U. S. grains to the world and forces transportation costs higher.