Senators Praise Stabenow and Roberts for Restoring Bipartisanship to the Senate
Republican Leader McConnell: This is a very fine day in the recent history of the Senate
Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and Sen. Pat Roberts, the Committee's Ranking Member, worked together to secure a strong bipartisan 64-35 vote for the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 (a.k.a the new Farm Bill). But not only was the final vote a rare bipartisan moment in Congress, Senators on both sides of the aisle said the entire process was a return to a more bipartisan tone in the Senate and praised Senators Stabenow and Roberts for restoring bipartisanship to the chamber. Statements from Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle follow.
The new Farm Bill cuts spending by $23 billion while strengthening initiatives that help Michigan farmers and small business owners create agriculture jobs. National news outlets have said the bill represents the most significant reform of agricultural policy in decades.
Following are statements from Senators from both sides of the aisle, praising the bill for its major reforms, and for the exceptionally bipartisan process of drafting and passing it:
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate Majority Leader:
"[T]he Republican Leader and I... would be remiss if we didn't say something to the entire Senate about how we feel about this bill and the leadership that was shown by these two fine Senators... We know how hard they worked to get where we are... I cannot say enough, although I will try, to applaud and compliment Senator Stabenow and Senator Roberts..."
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Minority Leader:
"Senator Stabenow and Senator Roberts have worked together very skillfully... I think we're moving back in the direction of operating the Senate in a way that we sort of traditionally understood we were going to operate the Senate... This is a very fine day in the recent history of the Senate. I congratulate the Chairwoman of the committee and the ranking member. They did a fabulous [job]."
Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT):
"Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Roberts clearly worked together... I do hope that something happens here, in addition to passing a farm bill... It's the psychology of us being legislators with amendments and working together.... I'm very hopeful that this will help set a tone about working together. It is not an overstatement to say they did work very hard, they did go the extra mile, that is not just fluff, that's not smoke, that's real. I haven't seen this in some time."
Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND):
"I want to say [Chairwoman Stabenow] has provided brilliant leadership on this legislation. I'm in my 26th year here. I have never seen a chairman so personally and directly engaged to make legislation happen in an extraordinarily difficult and challenging environment. When the history of this legislation is written, Senator Stabenow, the Chairman of our committee, will be in the front rank of those who made this happen.
Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE):
Let me just start out at congratulating the Chair and the Ranking Member. I have to say I marvel at what you've accomplished here... We haven't seen this kind of reform in a long, long time... I mean it's amazing the steps forward that this farm bill has taken. I compliment both of them - I think it is really a solid piece of work..."
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT):
"Let me praise both Sen. Stabenow and Sen. Roberts and the Members of the Committee... I've told both of them, I've never seen a farm bill handled this well or this quickly... There is one advantage to it though: no longer will I be getting those Saturday and Sunday and late evening calls from the Chairwoman saying, we have one more issue here. But then she did that with everybody else... Sen. Roberts worked with Sen. Stabenow each step of the way to get a bill. It is the way the Senate used to work and the way the Senate should work and the way the Senate will work. I think the United States Senate owes these two senators a huge debt of gratitude, and I think the country does too.
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA):
"Thank you madam Chairman for your cooperation on that issue, it is the most cooperation I have seen in the 10 or 15 years that I have been working on this issue on trying to bring some reform... I also appreciate madam Chairman the work, and the work Ranking Member Roberts, have put into this farm bill..."
Senator Michael Bennett (D-CO):
"...When people tell me, 'What is wrong with you people? Why can't you work together?' I have the opportunity to point to the bipartisan work of this committee as an example of how we should be approaching our work in the U.S. Senate."
Senator John Hoeven (R-ND):
"Thank you madam Chairman, I truly appreciate your work and your willingness to work with us and also to Ranking Member Roberts. Thank you Senator for your work and perseverance... I know everyone already said it but I do have to commend the both of you for diligently working though this process..."
Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE):
"I have never known in a committee structure a Chairperson who reaches out as you have in this effort. We put together a bipartisan budget savings bill, and if others across our government followed this example and made similar cuts, we would be able to achieve the goal that we all have of reducing the deficit and getting it under control. As I've said in the past, this bill will permit people in agriculture to establish their own risk management tools, rather than having to rely on the good will of the government to bail them out."
Senator Bob Casey (D-PA):
"I want to thank you for your hard work and working with me and our office so closely and your Ranking Member Senator Roberts; we're grateful. It is a significant example of bipartisanship at a time when you don't see enough of it."