Roberts says farm bill deal close as lobbying continues
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., who chairs the conference on the next farm bill, said Thursday that a deal is “darn close” and could be reached by Monday, Politico reported, while lobbying on the bill continued.
Roberts said the conference report under consideration contains provisions from both the Senate and House titles on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The House bill calls for stiffer work requirements while the Senate bill includes tougher enforcement mechanisms.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, agreed that progress had been made, Politico said.
The article did not include comments from Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., or House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., but a knowledgeable Senate source said all four key figures are involved in the current negotiations.
Meanwhile, a coalition of smaller farm, environmental and anti-hunger groups wrote the chairs and ranking members that Congress should “pass a farm bill that helps put food on the table for families in need, supports all farmers, and protects the environment.”
“The bipartisan Senate farm bill earned 86 votes, a historic level of support. Like the Senate bill, the final farm bill should strengthen anti-hunger, conservation, and local food programs, support the next generation of diverse farmers, tighten farm subsidy loopholes, and reject anti-environmental riders. To achieve these priorities, Congress must commit to finalizing a farm bill that reflects the bipartisan compromise achieved in the Senate farm bill,” the groups said.
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall announced Thursday that Farm Bureau’s advocacy team has issued an action alert urging its members “to let your lawmakers know how important it is that the farm bill be ready for the president’s signature in the next few weeks.”
The alert contained a link to send a message to lawmakers.
The Senate has left Washington for Thanksgiving week and the House is scheduled to leave today. Both chambers will return beginning the week of Nov. 26.