October 26, 2014

Grassley predicts Farm Bill passage “within the next month”

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says senators should return to Washington on Monday to tackle major legislation, like the Farm Bill.

“People were mad at us over the last two weeks because government was shut down. They didn’t think we were doing anything and they’re going to be more mad because the senate’s not going to be in session next week,” Grassley says. “The House is going to be in session, but not the senate.”

The Republican-led House is scheduled to reconvene Tuesday night at 6:30, with voting possible through Friday, but the Senate’s Democratic leader has scheduled a week-long recess for senators. Grassley says the senate needs to act on the bill that provides the money for military operations, plus another piece of legislation being drafted in response to the actions of Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who has revealed some of the secrets of U.S. surveillance operations.

“We ought to be working on those things,” Grassley says.

As for resolving the impasse over the Farm Bill, Grassley says there’ll have to be some middle ground between the $40 billion cut in food stamps that House Republicans want and the $4.5 billion cut Senate Democrats have proposed and which was included in the bipartisan Farm Bill that cleared the Senate this summer.

“I don’t know where that compromise is, but I think it can be reached and we’ll have a Farm Bill to the president within the next month,” Grassley says. “I actually have confidence that we will be able to accomplish that.”

Grassley is not a member of the House-Senate conference committee working on the final version of the Farm Bill, but Republican Congressman Steve King and Democratic Senator Tom Harkin are. Harkin said earlier this week negotiators “have some time” to craft a Farm Bill compromise, but should complete their work before the end of the year.

(Reporting by Dennis Morrice, KLEM, Le Mars)