Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts, retiring after 40 years in Congress, urged more civility and friendship among lawmakers in a farewell speech on Thursday that touched on his prominent role in passing the 1996 farm bill that, for the most part, ended federal control over what crops farmers grow.
Out of the $23.5 billion earmarked for agriculture in the latest coronavirus relief package, "I think at least $9 billion will be going to livestock producers," said Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts on Wednesday.(No paywall)
Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, the only lawmaker to chair the Senate and House Agriculture committees, will retire in 2020 after four decades in Congress. Roberts was the author of the landmark Freedom to Farm law of 1996 that removed most federal controls over what crops farmers grow.
As a demonstration of congressional determination to enact the new farm bill on time, Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts wants the “Big Four” negotiators to meet before the House recesses for the rest of the summer. A meeting this week would “signal to farmers that we will get a bill ... before the Sept. 30 deadline,” he said.
Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts, who will chair House-Senate negotiations over the farm bill, plans a thorough but timely resolution of the differences between the two chambers’ versions, said a committee spokeswoman on Monday.
Roughly 16 months ago, at their first hearing for the 2018 farm bill, Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts and Sen. Debbie Stabenow agreed to write a bipartisan bill that would be enacted on time, a seemingly simple goal that has eluded Congress repeatedly. With a committee vote set for Wednesday on their 1,006-page bill, the two committee leaders say they are on the verge of a major bipartisan victory.
The Senate could vote on the $87 billion-a-year farm bill in mid-June, but the legislation won’t repeat the House’s attempt at major SNAP reform, said Agriculture Committee chairman Pat Roberts on Wednesday.
Farmers are worried about foreign retaliation to U.S. trade sanctions, said the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, suggesting that Congress may have to create a “special payment due to retaliation.”
The leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee have ruled out major changes in the food stamp program, effectively rejecting big cuts to the program before House Agriculture chairman Michael Conaway can write them into his committee’s version of the farm bill. (No paywall)
The Senate Agriculture Committee will draft its version of the 2018 farm bill in April if chairman Pat Roberts’ plans hold up. Roberts discussed the timeline for the bill, but not its contents, at a child nutrition luncheon.
Congress can save billions of dollars a year on the 2018 farm bill by axing crop subsidies, crop insurance and many conservation programs, says the free market American Enterprise Institute in reports issued today. Some of the money "should be re-allocated to programs that do provide U.S. households with genuine positive benefits," such as agricultural research, and the rest of the $16 billion a year "could be re-allocated to other uses, including lower tax rates," says AEI.
The government cannot be sure that food stamp money is dispensed properly because states obscured their payment errors in pursuit of USDA bonuses for efficient operations, said Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts. "Simply put, no one knows the error rate of (food stamps) and that is unacceptable," said Roberts.
A Congressional overhaul of child nutrition programs that cost $22 billion a year is dead, said Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts, who blamed Senate Democrats and objections from the House. House and Senate committees took sharply different directions with their bills; neither chamber voted on a bill during the congressional session that is in its final days.
The 2016 general election can be split into sectors of interest for food and agriculture issues: state referendums on agricultural issues; four municipal referendums on soda taxes, and three House races in which the food movement targeted Republican incumbents.
The Senate Agriculture Committee approved the nominations of Christopher Brummer and Brian Quintenz as commissioners of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the regulator of the commodities markets. The Senate is to meet today before taking a break ahead of the Nov. 8 general …
After the showdown vote scheduled for Wednesday in the Senate, the outlook for a GMO-disclosure bill may darken. The Senate bill, which preempts state GMO food-labeling laws along with allowing foodmakers to use a symbol, a digital code or wording on a package to disclose GMO ingredients, has few friends in the House, which has voted against mandatory labeling.
Senate Agriculture Committee chairman Pat Roberts said his bill to reauthorize the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, scheduled for a vote in committee on Thursday, would remove unnecessary federal regulation of so-called end users, such as utilities, airlines and food processors, while improving safeguards against misuse of customer funds.
In a vote with election-year implications, the Senate rejected a bill to pre-empt state GMO food-labeling laws in a roll call that broke along party-lines, highlighted by maneuvering by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow a new vote later.
Chairman Pat Roberts says the Senate Agriculture Committee "will prove to the American people their food is safe" before it considers legislation to over-ride state GMO food-labeling laws, said the Topeka (Kan) Capital-Journal. A committee hearing on agricultural biotechnology is scheduled for Oct 21.