The Associated Press reports that U.S. Reps. Collin Peterson and Tim Walz appeared in a forum that was billed as "finding the endgame to a farm bill." But the influential pair said that they are not optimistic about its passage.
"Compromise is not a dirty word," Walz said. "It's the glue that holds the democracy together. I'm just baffled."
They made their comments at Farmfest, a three-day annual event near Redwood Falls that features hundreds of agribusiness displays.
Peterson, the ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, said that while negotiators will devise a compromise bill, he's not hopeful. Walz said nobody is more bipartisan than Peterson, and that both sides should be able to find common interests.
The Democrat-led Senate has approved a bipartisan five-year bill that governs farm programs and food stamps. But the Republican-controlled House has passed a bill for farm programs only, splitting off nutrition programs into a separate measure that includes deep cuts to food stamps.
"The Senate is not going to go along with that," Peterson said. "The president is not going to go along with that."
The Republican Party of Minnesota later issued a statement accusing the state's Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party of using farmers as "political pawns" for pushing "big government welfare programs."