Grassley: GOP wins this fall wouldn't impact next year's farm bill

The November election's impact on Congress is unlikely to affect the size and scope of a farm spending bill next year, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said Wednesday.

Grassley, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, said Republican control of one or both houses of Congress next year probably wouldn't shift work on a new farm bill, possibly toward a smaller piece of legislation.

"I don't really think so unless there's a consensus to do it," Grassley said of whether GOP victories would impact the farm bill.

"If there's a consensus to change the direction of the farm program over the last couple, three decades, I think it'll be a bipartisan consensus," Grassley said during a conference call with Iowa reporters.

Indeed, a $288 billion farm bill passed through Congress in 2008 with bipartisan support to override the veto of then-President George W. Bush, who, like some conservatives, expressed concern over the size of the many farm subsidies contained within the legislation.

The House voted 316-108 to override Bush's veto, with many Republicans among those in the minority. The Senate voted more robustly, 82-13, to override the veto; 11 Republicans and two Democrats voted against it, while conservative Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) voted "present."

But with conservative, Tea Party candidates challenging a number of Republican incumbents this cycle, with a focus on those incumbents' support for spending program, Grassley warned that GOP victories might make little difference in reining in farm spending.

"And so, from that standpoint, I don't think it makes much difference which party controls, because farm bills tend to be very bipartisan," he said.

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