The Senate Wednesday named members to the farm bill conference committee following action a day earlier to move forward with the conference process. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell named himself to the committee, along with Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, and fellow Republicans John Boozman of Arkansas, John Hoeven of North Dakota and Joni Ernst of Iowa. Meanwhile, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer named ranking Agriculture Committee member Debbie Stabenow, and fellow Democrats Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota to the committee.
The Hagstrom Report notes that Republican leadership followed seniority in their choices. The Democrats skipped over four more senior members – Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Joe Donnelly of Indiana – to name Heitkamp, who has a tough re-election race in a state in which agriculture is particularly important to the economy.
In a release, Donnelly called for a quick agreement on a final farm bill saying, “Our farmers are having to navigate significant challenges – from depressed commodity prices to chaotic trade markets and uncertain federal policies from WOTUS to the RFS. Now more than ever, farmers need conferees to quickly reconcile the differences between the Senate- and House-passed versions of this bill. I encourage conferees to follow the path we did in the Senate and put aside partisan differences to develop a bipartisan bill that will allow us to quickly provide some stability for farmers.”
Source: NAFB News Service