Chairman Mike Conaway (TX-11) joined Agri-Pulse Open Mic with Jeff Nalley on Sunday, April 15th to discuss the 2018 Farm Bill, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2). Below are highlights from the Chairman’s interview:

On the Farm Safety Net:

“I think it’s important that we get this ’18 Farm Bill done because if producers want to flip from ARC to PLC they can’t do that unless I get this re-authorization done. Given the way those two interact with falling prices and long-term depressed prices, folks want to change up that piece of the safety net. I can’t get them that opportunity unless we get the farm bill done.”

“Collin wanted to change the dairy program. He didn’t think it was as good as it could be. I told him he had to live within the money that was there and he did. So he made some changes to hit that we agreed to. Those changes survived obviously everything, so they are in the bill that he will now vote against I guess if he decides to vote no on the bill.”

On working with Democrats:

“If in fact they [ Democrats ] do want to negotiate and want to make some improvements, absolutely. We are ready to get that going because I want this bill to be the best possible and if it can be bipartisan that would be even better." 

“I didn’t change anything that he and I agreed to before this impasse over SNAP occurred in March. All those Democrat priorities are in there. If they vote no, they are going to be voting against their own interests, their own things they told me were important to them for their constituents back home.”

On Whether Democrats' Impasse Stems from November Election Hopes:

“I just know that we have not been able to replicate the bipartisan work that Lucas and Collin did with respect to the ’14 Farm Bill when Lucas was trying to negotiate an actual cut to spending in SNAP, an actual reduction in SNAP. I was able to just live within the SNAP numbers and I would’ve thought it would’ve been easier to negotiate just making SNAP better without cutting funding out of it than it was in ’14. Somehow Collin and Frank were able to negotiate cuts to SNAP in ’14, and yet today when I don’t have any cuts to have to negotiate, he was unable to negotiate with me on that. I just know it is different than it was in ’14, but you’ll have to speculate your own self as to why, or ask Collin.” 

On Democrats' Claim SNAP Modifications Take Food Away from Those Who Need It:

“Where do we take food away from hungry people? … My answer exactly. If you’re making 130% of the poverty line or less, if your asset test are less than what’s in there, you get food stamps. Now, if you’re willing to work, if you’re willing to train, and you’re not a parent of a 6-year-old or younger and you’re not mentally or physically disabled then you’re going to have opportunities for food stamps. So, we don’t kick anybody off the program per se.”

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