Farm bills are not easy. Historically, we have had to overcome not only the usual partisan divide in Washington, D.C., but those along regional lines, too. This is nothing new.
For this year’s farm bill, however, we had the added difficulty of negotiating in a bad economy with out-of-control federal deficit spending.
For months I have been criticizing the actions of the Obama administration for its damaging tax, regulatory and economic policies that have forced businesses to sit on the sidelines waiting for stability and predictability to return to our economy before they invest and hire.
I refuse to be a part of that.
Under very difficult circumstances, I fought for a farm bill that many said could not be approved in an election year. I am proud to say this farm bill reforms farm programs and saves the taxpayer more than $23 billion.
American agriculture and those who depend on it around the globe need a farm bill. They need to know what to expect from the federal government to make planning decisions, to be assured of a safe and affordable food supply, and to know that their businesses and families will have the opportunity to thrive.
I take this responsibility seriously.
I fought for a farm bill to move our farm programs away from subsidies and toward a safety net that helps producers when they need assistance. We streamlined and eliminated programs where necessary. This bill is indeed reform and progress.
I worked hard to get critical, budget-cutting amendments before the Senate for debate and a vote.
I also supported key amendments to the nutrition title of the bill to close loopholes, cut administrative costs and further cut down on waste, fraud and abuse. Unfortunately for the taxpayer, and for the needy among us who depend on nutrition assistance, these amendments failed on a party-line vote. Our work is not done on this front.
Kansans are sick of a do-nothing Congress. They want results. No other committee has put forward mandatory spending reductions, and very few bills have passed the Senate with this level of bipartisan approval.
Our work is not done. We can find more savings in farm programs, especially in nutrition spending. The House must act, and we must have something in place before current programs expire Sept. 30.
I will continue to do everything I can to avoid adding to the economic uncertainties our farmers and ranchers and rural communities already have been forced to face, so that we can get the federal government out of the way of job creation and our nation’s economic recovery.