Lawmaker/White House Interaction on a Hot-button Farm Policy Issue

April 12, 2009 07:00 PM
 

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

Obama promises to talk later with Rep. Berry about major review of ag policy


NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.


During a White House meeting with Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel, who was working on lawmakers to vote for the Fiscal Year 2010 budget resolution, Rep. Marion Berry (D-Ark.) was one of the lawmakers opposed to the resolution, largely due to President Barack Obama's proposal to save nearly $10 billion over 10 years by cutting federal payments to large farms.

Presidential promise. An article in today's Washington Post noted that “Berry still seemed agitated after a brief session in Emanuel's office, so the chief of staff played his trump card. 'I walked him down to the Oval [Office]'" and introduced Berry to Obama, Emanuel recalled. The two traded farm jokes and agreed to talk later in the year about a comprehensive review of federal agriculture policy, the article revealed.

Berry said he “really did appreciate” the attention and was relieved that Obama appeared willing to back off the cuts, at least for now. When the House voted on the budget resolution, Berry was a yes vote.


Comments: Rep. Berry is a popular farm-state lawmaker who gets high marks from his farmer constituents for not forgetting about production agriculture. The Obama administration will continue to focus on their push for major farm policy changes, but farm-state lawmakers like Rep. Berry have made it clear any proposals must be equitable and must consider those farmers and ranchers who produce the vast amount of U.S. farm production.


NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.


 

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