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Chairman Conaway Talks SNAP and Farm Bill on Adams on Agriculture

Today, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (TX-11) joined Mike Adams on his radio show, Adams on Agriculture, to discuss the 2018 Farm Bill. Highlights from the interview and audio from the interview are included below.

Chairman Conaway said [in part]:

On bringing Democrats back to the table:
I’m hopeful that the more questions that get answered, the more opportunities that we have to show folks that hey that’s not in the bill, what we’re being accused of is not in the bill. The more of that that goes on, then my democrat colleagues will say alright maybe we can work with this, maybe we can come back to the table, maybe we suggest some changes or improvements to the program.

I’m hoping they’re going to be a part of the solution. Peterson’s recently been bragged on about being the most bipartisan member on the face of the earth. I’m hopefully burnishes those bona fides by coming back to the table and working on the farm bill, which is a way to prove that he’s the most bipartisan member on the face of the earth, and so I’m hoping he comes back to the table.

On GOP support for the bill:
I’ve had good conversations with both ends of the spectrum of Republicans I’ve got. I’ve had good conversations with both of them, I’ve talked to the Main Street group, I’ve talked individually with the Freedom Caucus guys, many of them. I’ve gotten kind of a head nod from those guys that they don’t see anything in there right now that causes them to vote against it so I’m thinking we’ve got the votes, but we want to make sure and leadership is always real cautious about bringing something to the floor that we don’t pass because that’s something you really don’t want to do. Especially to H.R. 2. The speaker allowed us to use that number. It falls in right behind the tax reform so that shows you how important it is to him and leadership.

On bipartisanship in the bill:
[House Ag Democrats] gave us a letter of 50 things they wanted in the bill, some of them overlapped with what we wanted, but we addressed every single one of them. Collin’s fingerprints are all over the non-SNAP titles so that really was bipartisan work and we’re getting good marks across the board.

On Senate action:
I’m confident that [Sen. Roberts] will get a bill out and I’m confident that we’ll go to conference on that. I’m also confident that neither will survive intact. Neither our bill, nor their bill. They will be a blend as we normally do and hopefully that blend is better than either individual product there. That’s just the normal way we go at it.

On including SNAP changes in the final bill:

Michael we’ve got stuff in there that’s just good governance. The broad-based categorical eligibility allows folks who make 60-80,000 dollars a year to be on SNAP. Defend that. We’ve got folks who qualify for SNAP in two different states. We can’t catch them now. Defend that. There are lots of things that we’re going to do that everybody agrees with. Who disagrees with allowing a SNAP family to accumulate 2,000 dollars in savings that doesn’t count against their asset test? Who doesn’t agree that having a 12,000 dollar car allows them to get to and from work better than a $4600 car?

There’s lots of things that we’re doing—I got beat to death last week by people saying oh we love work requirements, we love work requirements. Well, okay. That’s what we’ve got. It's 20 hours a week. We didn’t increase that. Now we increase that at the end of the bill to 25 hours a week, but not early on and so what I wished I would’ve done last week was have a big chart of things that we’ve done and make those guys tell me exactly which ones of those they disagree with. They just categorically tossed the whole thing and they’re hiding from having to answer those hard questions. In hindsight it’s always 20/20, but it would’ve been fun last week to actually have took a straw poll and say alright who’s against $2000 savings doesn’t count? Collin, you against that?

All those kinds of things. I mean yes, we are going to have some changes to SNAP. Now it may not go as full as what we’re going to, but I’m going to get this bill across the floor because it is just good policy. We didn’t come at this and try to cut spending, we didn’t come at this wrongheaded. We came at this in the right way with the right heart. We’re trying to help people get off these programs. Get their lives back under their own control and who’s against that? Well, I guess Collin. You tell me if whether or not we’ll have the opportunity to reform SNAP and whether it’s the righteous thing to do.