Ag Policy Blog

Senate Ag Chair Urges House Counterparts to be in Washington Next Week

Jerry Hagstrom
By  Jerry Hagstrom , DTN Political Correspondent

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., who also chairs the House-Senate farm bill conference committee, said late Wednesday that Congress is running out of time to finish the farm bill conference report before the current bill expires on September 30, and urged House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, and ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., to be in Washington next week even though the House is scheduled to be out of session, Politico reported.

“We're running out of time,” Roberts told reporters before a meeting with Conaway, Peterson and Senate Agriculture ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. The meeting was crucial in determining whether lawmakers can sprint to make the Sept. 30 deadline.

Roberts said talks could potentially continue next week, if House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway and ranking member Collin Peterson are able to come back to Washington.

“If you don’t do it by that time, you’re not going to do it,” Roberts said.

Noting that the key leaders have still not come to agreement on the budget for each title, he said lawmakers might not finish the bill until after the election. “It might have to be after the election. I don’t know.”

The Senate will hold only a pro forma session Thursday and will next convene on Monday at 5:30 p.m.

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