Grassley upset about payment limits, might support farm bill
December 4, 2018
In his weekly call to rural reporters today, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said that the farm bill won't contain his Senate amendment to make farm subsidy payment limits tougher, but that even though he has threatened not to support the bill he might support it due to other concerns.
"I believe they have worsened existing law," Grassley said, asking whether a House provision allowing cousins and nieces and nephews to get subsidies will lead to "third cousins" getting subsidies in the 2023 farm bill.
Grassley said he has a "great disappointment" in Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan. "for caving in" on the issue.
If he decides to vote for the bill, Grassley said, it will be because of the five-year certainty the bill would provide and the "anxiety" farmers are feeling due to the trade issues that President Donald Trump has brought up.
Grassley also said that considering how far Trump went in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement negotiations to satisfy union and agricultural interests, those groups should be helping the president gain congressional approval of the agreement.
"If they don't, threatening to get out of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) is the right thing to do," Grassley said.
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But he also said he plans to use his power as Senate Finance Committee chairman next year to advance a bill that would restrict Trump's ability to use national security as a rationale for placing tariffs on foreign goods.