Tuesday, November 20, 2007

House Ag Committee Chair Keeps Hope

House Ag Committee Chair Colin Peterson D-MN had this to say about the Senate failure to pass their version of the farm bill:

"We've been kind of quiet, trying to give the Senate room to get done what they need to," he said in his first press conference with ag reporters in months. I was hoping they'd get a bill out, any kind of bill out, so we could go to conference," he said, referring to the last stage of writing a farm bill, when a conference committee of House and Senate ag committee members negotiate a final bill.

But Peterson said he still thinks a farm bill is possible early next year, that he hopes farm-state voters will convince a few more Republican senators to join Democrats in passing a farm bill when Congress returns from its Thanksgiving recess in December.

"Some of these people ought to be embarrassed at some of the amendments they're dropping," Peterson said, referring to amendments that Republicans in the Senate wanted to consider with the farm bill. Many were political, Peterson said. "They wanted to drop us into drivers licenses for illegal immigrants."

"Hopefully, folks will get an earful back home," Peterson said Friday.

Peterson said there will be little support for extending a farm bill. He chuckled when he said that the extension bill filed yesterday was identical to one he had introduced when he was in the minority on the committee -- something the bill's author, Kansas Republican Jerry Moran said as well on Thursday.

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