WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), ranking member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, today issued the following statement regarding the failure of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction:
“Today’s announcement by the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction means that a Farm Bill will now be written in regular order as it should be. In recent weeks, the chairs of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees have worked on a Farm Bill proposal, largely without my input and the input of the other members of the two committees. The last proposal was so ‘secret’ that I still have not seen final legislative language and scores. Significant strides were proposed in crop insurance and conservation programs. However, I had substantial concerns about what little I knew of the direction of the commodity title and the inequitable distribution of spending reductions between commodities, conservation, nutrition and specialty crop programs.
“I know that Chairwoman Stabenow and Chairman Lucas have worked hard to put together a recommendation to the Joint Committee. However, this process was not the way to write the Farm Bill. I call on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry to hold open, public hearings where policy ideas are discussed and debated on their merits, followed by a mark-up that allows input by all committee members. Farm Bills have always been done this way, in a bipartisan manner. I look forward to returning to normal order and writing a bill that is good for all of Rural America while being responsible to taxpayers and our WTO obligations.”