By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Wednesday, House and Senate negotiators began meeting in hopes of finally striking a deal on a new farm bill by the end of the year. Congress members Mike Rogers (R) from Saks and Martha Roby (R) from Montgomery on are the joint House-Senate conference committee that is negotiating the Farm Bill.
Representative Rogers said,
“The negotiations we face will be tough. There are reforms we must consider in order to make these programs more sustainable and to be responsible stewards of taxpayer money. I believe we can work through these differences in a timely and bipartisan manner to achieve real results that will help our farmers and the agriculture industry over the next five years. Hopefully our efforts will demonstrate that Congress can function on behalf of the greater good of our nation. I look forward to beginning work.” “As we begin the conference committee on H.R. 2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, I am honored to be working to resolve differences between the Farm Bills passed by each Chamber.”
Congressman Rogers said,
“Alabama is home to over 48,000 farms and Alabama’s agricultural exports total $1 billion a year. It is a massive industry for the economy and is vital these folks have a voice in Congress to look out for what’s in their best interest.”
Congresswoman Martha Roby said,
“This Farm Bill is a top legislative priority for me because it is important to the people of Alabama’s Second Congressional District. I’ve hosted numerous town hall meetings, held regular sit downs with my own Agriculture Advisory Panel, and visited with farmers throughout my district.”
Both Rogers and Roby are members of the House Agriculture Committee.
Alabama Farmer’s Federation President Jimmy Parnell said,
“We are proud to have two members of Alabama’s congressional delegation serving on this important committee. Representatives Rogers and Roby are strong supporters of Alabama agriculture. They understand the urgent need to pass a farm bill so farmers can make planting and financial decisions. We appreciate their work to provide long-term stability for farmers in a way that’s fiscally responsible.”
Both the Republican controlled U.S. House of Representatives and the Democratic controlled U.S. Senate have passed different versions of the farm bill. In the House, the Republican farm bill was sabotaged by fiscal hawks who joined with Democrats to defeat the bill crafted by the Agriculture Committee.
Democrats thought it cut too many people from the food stamp program (EBT), while fiscal hawks on the Republican right thought it did not cut food stamps enough. The Republican Caucus in the House regrouped after the stinging defeat and passed a farm bill that was separate from the food stamp program while the Senate passed a Farm Bill that included generous spending for the controversial nutrition assistance programs.
Whether or not to address the Food Stamp issue at all will be the biggest challenge for the Conference Committee.
Congressman Mike Rogers represents Alabama’s Third Congressional District. This is his Sixth Term in the U.S. Congress.