Stabenow: ‘They have come here to shut the government down’

10/02/2013 11:20:00 AM
Tom Karst

Debbie StabenowStabenowWASHINGTON, D.C. — The greatest country in the world deserves better than the government shutdown, Debbie Stabenow told attendees of the 2013 United Fresh Produce Association’s Washington Public Policy Conference.

Drawing applause for her support of the farm bill and comprehensive immigration reform, Stabenow said the government shutdown blocked progress on all issues.

“It is difficult to understand what is happening, even for me, and I’m in the middle of it,” said Sen. Stabenow, D-Mich., chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

She was one of several lawmakers and administration officials who spoke at the event. Stabenow said conservative Republicans shut down the government in what she said was a case of “wagging the dog.”

“They have come here to shut the government down, and they are pretty happy today because they finally have done it, even if it is only for a short time,” she said Oct. 1.

Stabenow said the shutdown came as a result of a six-week funding bill that some Republicans decided to use to attack Obamacare.

Once the crisis passes, Stabenow said she holds out hope for a new five-year farm bill. The firt inclusion of specialty crop programs in the 2008 bill was a significant victory, and lawmarkers are building on that with the new bill.

The main stumbling block in the push for a new farm bill is nutrition-related programs. The House version of the farm bill, now recently combined to include both nutrition programs and farm-related programs, has more than $40 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — food stamps.

“The nutrition title is so far off it is not close to what we would accept in the Senate,” he said.

Regular farm bill funding ran out Sept. 30, but Stabenow said nothing “bad” happens until January, when farm programs revert to Depression Era farm bill subsidies. Stabenow said simply extending the 2008 farm bill won’t work.

“We are not going to pass another extension that does not do the job,” she said.

About 20 Senate colleagues have said they would not support a regular farm bill extension that continues direct payments, Stabenow said.

“That option is not there; the option is to get things done,” she said.

House and Senate members will be chosen soon to negotiate a compromise version of the farm bill,



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Ben    
USA  |  October, 03, 2013 at 10:29 AM

She bankrupt Michigan until she was kicked out. Her bodies in DC bankrupt the whole Nation but she doesn't unterstand at all. How can she hold a position like this?

George    
Marina  |  October, 03, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Really? She finds it difficult to understand why the productive side of the nation is revolting against the first ever requirement by the federal government to force citizens to buy something! If your elected representative is fighting the good fight, stand behind him or her more than ever. Our entire GDP does not begin to even cover what these oligarchs are spending each day.

R Henry    
LA  |  October, 03, 2013 at 11:29 AM

United, conceived and designed to lobby official Washington, is clearly a creature of politics. Inviting Stabenow obviously reinforces this fact. That Stabenow spews partisan rhetoric can hardly be surprising--she is a partisan. The real question becomes, does the larger produce industry desire a lobbying organization that caters to leftist politicians? Does the industry want to partner with leftist politicians who support "comprehensive immigration reform" (rightly labelled "amnesty" by opponents), or does our industry's more politically conservative membership want United to pursue other goals? Again, United, by definition, is a political animal, currently pursuing leftist goals. Is this what the industry wants?

Mark    
Linden  |  October, 03, 2013 at 08:47 PM

Deb How did the same spending you are doing in DC work out in the city of Detroit?

Doug    
Raleigh NC  |  October, 04, 2013 at 10:13 AM

"They" have come to shut the government down, madame? Here's a mirror.

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