‘Big four’ meet on farm bill conference
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, and ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., met today about the farm bill conference.
The meeting took place even though the Senate has not yet voted to go to conference.
The “Big Four,” as they are sometimes called, issued a brief joint statement that did not mention any of the major differences between the two bills such as work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or payment limits.
“We look forward to working together to get a farm bill finished as quickly as possible, and we’re committed to finding solutions to resolve the differences. We must keep working to provide American farmers and families with the certainty and predictability they need and deserve,” they said.
One aide involved in the talks said that the four principals had agreed to have weekly phone calls, have begun discussing when they can meet in August and are committed to getting the conference report into law by Sept. 30 when the current farm bill expires.
The aide also said that committee staffs will work on the conference through August.