Politics
3:07 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Senator Blunt On Farm Bill And River Navigation

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt hopes to get movement on the Farm Bill soon.

In a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, the Missouri Republican indicated he hopes the Farm Bill will be resolved before the end of the year, and perhaps before the Senate resolves “the fiscal cliff” crisis.

Blunt voted for the Senate’s earlier version of the Farm Bill, and says he would vote in favor of an extension of the current Farm Bill into the spring to let farm families plan for the coming year.

“Some Farm Bill is better than no Farm Bill. Some extension is better than no Farm Bill. A five-year Farm Bill is better than a two-year Farm Bill, and I’m working to get the best Farm Bill we can get with the most savings we can find and still have good farm policy and get it for as long a period of time as possible,” Blunt said.

Blunt says he thinks they should have extended the current Farm Bill at least to the end of the year. If no action is taken, farm policy will revert to the 1949 Farm Bill, which Blunt says “makes no sense to anybody.”

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Blunt is also reaching out to colleagues to find a resolution to forecasted Mississippi River navigation problems.

The Army Corps of Engineers will reduce water flows off of the Missouri River this month by filling reservoirs at six dams ranging from Montana to South Dakota. But the reduced flow from the Missouri River will lead to low water on the Mississippi that could halt all navigation between St. Louis and Cairo in early December.

The Missouri Republican called the situation “an interesting challenge” to a new working relationship among Senators from Missouri River states to ensure the river works for everybody.

“This Missouri River fight is a fight that we need to end and occasionally that means we’ll take more water than we’d like to take,” Blunt said. “But it also occasionally should mean that they’re going to have to give us more water than they’d like to give.”

Blunt says he has already spoken with North Dakota John Hoeven about the issue.