If the Appropriations Committee and the Senate confirms the action, their votes could set the stage for another battle with House leaders in the House-Senate conference committee on the next fiscal year’s appropriations bill.

The House zeroed out the funding for the Conservation Security Program, one of the centerpieces of the conservation title of the 2002 farm bill signed by President Bush a little more than a year ago, claiming savings of $53 million for the action in Fiscal Year 2004.

“Our subcommittee members decided to leave the farm bill language intact; that is, allow USDA to fund the Conservation Security Program as Congress intended,” said a staff member on the Senate Agricultural Appropriations Subcommittee. “This is an issue that will probably have to be resolved in conference.”

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