Thatcher Sees No Senate Climate Vote This Year

Mary Kay Thatcher, AFBF director of public policy, tells Agriculture Online that Farm Bureau doesn’t anticipate the massive climate change bill passed by the House last week to pass the Senate this year.  And the New York Times reported Tuesday that opposition from Farm Bureau and other agricultural groups threatens to kill the bill in the Senate. The Times reports that groups such as AFBF wield greater clout in the Senate, because members there must be protective of an entire state, rather than a small congressional district. A full Senate agenda, including health care reform and the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, also will likely delay debate and a vote on climate change this year.   “It’s hard for me to believe they could change it enough in the Senate to make agriculture a winner,” Thatcher said. “True commercial agriculture is not going to be a winner in this thing.”  In the New York Times article, Rick Krause, AFBF senior director of congressional relations, said Farm Bureau remains opposed to the bill partly because of worries about its impact on the cost of fertilizer and fuels. The Times reports that the main thing that would shift Farm Bureau’s stance is new language guaranteeing that the United States will toss its cap-and-trade system if China and India don’t follow suit with a similar program. “The U.S. is competing in the world markets with Chinese and Indian agriculture products already,” Krause said.