Three former secretaries of agriculture at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting convention in Kansas City on Wednesday had the opportunity to comment on the election results and what might happen now.
Bob Bergland, who served under President Jimmy Carter, said the outcome of the election was no surprise to him, the question is where we go from here. “Majority leader in the House, Congressman Boehner, is a very fine man,” said Bergland. “He’s trying to get his caucus to agree on provisions in the new farm bill that up til now they have not been willing to do…it’s come back here soon in the lame duck session – I have no clue how that thing will turn out.”
John Block, who was secretary under President Reagen, says now that the election is over, nothing has changed and the fiscal issues facing the country are paramount. “We have the same president for four more years who didn’t get anything done, we have Harry Reid who’s going to run the Senate again, they never even put forth a budget,” he said. “Any farm or family’s got to have a little idea of how much money they’re going to take in and how much money they’re going to spend but the federal government…hasn’t even had a budget – it’s indefensible.”
Former Bush secretary and USTR Clayton Yeutter said amen to Block’s comments and offered his ideas of what might happen with a farm bill. “I’m not sure it will get done in a lame duck session,” said Yeutter. “I think the chances of that happening are probably less than 50-50 which means that they’ll do something temporary, kick the can down the road a bit, then deal with it next year.”
Former Ag Secretaries election comments: Ag Secretaries on election outcome
The former secretaries had the opportunity to reflect on their time running USDA and tell a few “war stories.” Interestingly, all three talked about how much more bipartisan government was during their times.
Former Ag Secretaries opening remarks: Ag Secretaries at NAFB