Roberts: Farm bill this fall ‘a high hurdle’ |

Roberts: Farm bill this fall ‘a high hurdle’

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., told reporters that passage of a new farm bill this fall would face “a high hurdle.”

Roberts made the statement when speaking to reporters after a hearing on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the eighth hearing the committee has held.

Roberts noted, however, that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has agreed it would be better to pass a farm bill “sooner rather than later.”

Roberts added that he and Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., “are a team” and that the committee had marked up a bill quickly in 2014 and could do it again.

Noting that Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., has said the Senate will have a budget this year, Roberts said it would be easier to write a bill once a budget is in place.

But Roberts noted that the House has a budget proposal and that President Trump has a budget proposal, but added that Congress is not paying much attention to Trump’s budget.

Asked about whether there would be adjustments to the Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs, Roberts said that there is “always” input from commodity producers about changes to their programs.

But Roberts emphasized, “This is no time for a revolutionary farm bill. This is a time for predictability.”