Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Senate to Begin Confirmation of Schaffer

Several weeks after his nomination former N. Dakota Governor Ed Schafer will have a hearing today in the Senate as his nomination for the Secretary of Agriculture.

Gov. Schafer's examination is not expected to be controversial. He could be confirmed by the full Senate shortly after the hearing.

Speculation has begun on Gov. Schafer's possible impact on farm bill negotiations.

Acting U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Charles Connor said at the South Dakota Corn Growers Association meeting in Sioux Falls earlier this month that President Bush wouldn't accept either the House or Senate versions of the bill. He called for lower payment limitations and less money. He says the House and Senate versions will cost more than the Bush administration finds acceptable.

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) was recently quoted as saying that he welcomes Gov. Schafer's involvement in writing the farm bill. Since Secretary Connor has worked with Congress on the bill for several years, "it could be helpful to have new eyes put on this," Conrad said.

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