Following a 90-8 bipartisan vote to proceed with the Senate farm bill debate, there was guarded optimism the legislation would have a relatively smooth ride through the chamber. Such optimism didn’t last long.

Those who hoped the Senate farm bill debate would avoid common partisan intransigence, regional strife and a rash of amendments unrelated to the legislation are surely disappointed.

Early in the process strife between political parties has already arisen, southern lawmakers remain dissatisfied with how proposed programs treat rice and peanuts, and non-agriculture amendments threaten to gum up the system.

Still, during a Wednesday morning press conference, Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, largely preferred to ignore the gathering storm clouds.

We have two very important amendments we’re in the process of discussing.”

One amendment deals with U.S. sugar quotas. The second, offered by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, would “cut block grant food assistance under the nutrition program.”

Earlier, Paul had stalled the farm bill by offering an amendment to cut off U.S. aid to Pakistan. This would be in retaliation for Pakistan’s conviction and incarceration of the doctor who surreptitiously aided U.S. forces in finding Osama Bin Laden.

“We intend then to move forward on other amendments if we’re unable to do unanimous consent, which we’ll attempt to do again this morning,” said Stabenow. “Then, we’ll move forward on the path that (Majority Leader Nevada Sen. Harry) Reid has set out that allows us, when there’s an objection, to move ahead and vote on amendments.

“As we’re doing that we’re also putting together the final universe of amendments we’ll be addressing. So, there’s been good movement in putting that together overnight and this morning.”