They do not agree on much.
But, they do agree on at least one thing.
Both of Nebraska’s United States Senators and the president agree a new farm bill could spur a sluggish economy.
After resolving the issues that shut down the federal government for more than two weeks and edged uncomfortably close to default, President Barack Obama listed three things Congress could do to help the economy; among them, passing the Farm Bill.
Sen. Deb Fischer says cattle ranchers in western Nebraska need the Livestock Indemnity Program, which ran out of money a year ago, renewed.
“When we have natural disasters, whether it’s flooding or hurricanes, government steps in and takes care of those folks and they need to do so now, too,” Fischer says.
When Congress approved the current Farm Bill, it didn’t fully fund the Livestock Indemnity Program in order to shave a bit of the cost of the bill.
Cost has been an issue between the Senate and the House.
The House could not agree on a funding level for the nutrition portion of the Farm Bill, which comprises 80% of the bill. Conservatives wanted deeper cuts to the food stamp program that they contend has grown beyond its original intent. Liberals balked at cutting a program they contend is needed to help families make it as they struggle through the economy still feeling the effects of the 2008 recession.
Though the House separated the nutrition portion of the bill from the agricultural portion, it has previously sought $40 billion in cuts to the food stamp program over the next 10 years. The Senate called for only $4 billion in cuts.
Sen. Mike Johanns points out 27 million Americans received food stamps when he was Agriculture Secretary. Forty-seven million now receive food stamps.
“Part of that is the economy, but part of is that there are so many ways to be eligible for food stamps when, under the law, you really don’t quality,” according to Johanns. “So, I really do believe there are things that can be done here.”
Johanns says the certainty a farm bill could give agriculture would bolster the economy.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:60]