MN Lawmakers Talk Farm Bill, ACA at Ag Symposium
Senator Amy Klobuchar also stopped by this afternoon's ag symposium at South Central College, joined by Representatives Tim Walz and Collin Peterson.
As has been the case for the past two decades, the ranking member of the House agriculture committee, Representative Collin Peterson, handles most of any discussion about farm issues, saying today that the changes made concerning crop insurance will force farmers to make a difficult choice between the price-loss contract and the agricultural risk contract. The latter of which he says is short-sighted.
Peterson says, "You'll probably get more money out of the Farm Bill the first two or three years by choosing that option, but then after that you're going to get less money, depending on what happens with the marketplace. That's what's going to make it somewhat difficult to decide what to do."
Peterson says this Farm Bill was even tougher to get through Congress than the 2008 version, but says the fact that the 1949 base law remains in place - that's the law that would require commodity prices to shoot up far beyond market value, commonly known as the Milk Cliff - will keep lawmakers coming back to the table.
"$16 wheat. $8 corn. $23 dairy. It would be fun while it lasted."
The lawmakers fielded other questions as well, talking debt and immigration reform, but it was the question about the struggling health care law that everyone in the audience wanted to see answered.
The question: "I thought the Affordable Care Act would save $2500 per family. What happened?"
After Sen. Klobuchar and Rep. Walz looked at each other, laughter broke out in the room.
Rep. Peterson quickly picked up the microphone to say, "I voted 'no', so I'll let these guys handle that," to the applause of the crowd.
Both Klobuchar and Walz said they were aware of the problems, and wanted to find ways to fix it.
Walz says, "This health discussion has got to be broader, it's got to point out where there are weaknesses and failures, it's got to make sure we're not leaving people behind or distorting the system. But don't pretend there was some type of safe harbor before this where everything was just peachy keen."