Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway’s expressed his frustration on Friday that he and his colleagues will be unable to get a bill done on time. Chairman Conaway said:
“I told a writer the other day that I probably played football too long but as long as there was time on the clock, the score didn’t matter, you just go at it as hard as you can, for as long as you can. Once the clock goes to all zeros, which will be midnight on Sept. 30, then it’s a new game.
Folks are beginning to talk about extensions or whatever they want to. To me, that means they’ve given up and I hate giving up. I just—I don’t like people who give up. That’s just not what we do. Where we sit right now it is across almost all of the titles, there are legitimate policy differences of opinion across them. It’s not just SNAP, it’s not just the farm bill, it’s not just conservation, it’s not title—it’s a variety of things that we have yet to come to grips with. It’s really frustrating because no one of them, who are actually all of them in combination, are worthy of us not getting this done. It’s just a matter of having the political will to make those hard choices.
Producers don’t need the additional anxiety or uncertainty of not knowing what the next 5 years looks like with respect to a farm bill. They’re living this five year drop in net farm income, 50 percent drop, the worst since the depression, no real prospects of the commodity prices getting any better, so getting the farm bill done is really important, but it’s got to be important to everybody negotiating. Right now, I don’t get the sense that getting something done has quite the sense of urgency with my Senate colleagues as it does with me.
I need to make hay while the sun shines right now. It’s shining on us and getting this farm bill done ought to be about the policy, it ought to be about the people, it ought to be about who we can help, who we can assist in these really really hard times. And just know that, the House of Representative guys that are fighting this fight are in it to get this thing done because their recognition of just how tough times are right now in production agriculture.”