Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) addressed the ARA Board of Directors and members Wednesday promising to be a champion for farmers, small businesses and rural communities.
Roberts was recently named chair of the Senate Agricultural Committee, a role he held in the House more than 20 years ago.
Roberts said the committee would use all the resources at its disposal to pass legislation that is effective for farmers and ranchers, adding that executive branch rulemaking and regulation is over-reaching.
“I think people feel ruled, not governed,” he said. “When regulators have an agenda that becomes a problem.”
One of the committee’s first priorities will be addressing the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed expanded definition of Waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act. He asked for help from the agricultural industry to put its best foot forward by putting producers out front on the issue in hearings and in the media.
“If we put a face like that on it like that, I think we have a chance,” he said.
Roberts added that an amendment in the next appropriations bill, which will need bipartisan support, is the best opportunity to quash EPA’s proposal.
Roberts also addressed the budget and crop insurance, which is the Obama administration has targeted for cuts.
“We will do a budget,” he said. But “we are not going to mess with crop insurance if I have anything to do with it.”
As Roberts concluded his remarks, he said there is opportunity and willingness to pass legislation in both the House and Senate.
“It's time to put our foot on the gas,” he said. “I want you to know I have your back. And I'll be looking for your help.”