By former USDA Secretary John R. Block
There is nothing more exciting, exhilarating, or rewarding than bringing in the harvest. After a whole year of planning, buying seed, plant protection chemicals, working the soil, applying fertilizer and planting the crops, then you pray for rain when needed and pray that rain stops before the river floods the bottom land. The anxiety is heavy. Finally, the crop is mature and the combines roll. That golden corn streaming into the truck headed for the grain elevator is – mission accomplished.
Last week, I was on the farm. I’m back in Washington today, but I wish I was still driving the combine. When in Illinois, friends and neighbors asked me, “What’s going on in Washington?” Then, they would laugh. They know it is a mess.
The latest shock is, Speaker John Boehner resigns. He will be gone the end of this month. He stepped aside when 30 or 40 right wing Republican House Members threatened to take away his leadership role. They wanted the legislation to fund the government into December to include language to defund Planned Parenthood. Democrats, including President Obama, would not support defunding Planned Parenthood. The bill would fail, and the government would shut down. Boehner said for the sake of the institution, he would resign (effective the end of October). That gave the Speaker the freedom to support a clean bill to extend government funding. The right wing can not, now, threaten to vote him out as Speaker because he has already resigned.
I have known John Boehner for 25 years. He is an honorable man with corn and soy beans in his district. He served on the House Ag Committee for years – a conservative friend of agriculture.
It looks like Congressman Kevin McCarthy of California will be chosen to replace Boehner. There are some good things that Speaker Boehner could try to do before his is gone.
Clean the slate for McCarthy:
- Increase our borrowing limit without a shutdown. It must be done. We have no choice.
- Pass a long-term transportation bill. I have been pushing this for a long time. We are running out of money for our roads and bridges.
- We need to pass legislation to continue tax breaks that have expired or are expiring. Some of them are important to agriculture.
- The final possibility – fund the Export-Import Bank. I am not a big fan of the Export-Import Bank.
That’s enough info on government in D.C. I can’t wait to get back to the farm.
John Block was Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 1981-1985, where he played a key role in the development of the 1985 Farm Bill. If you would like to review his radio shows going back more than 20 years, visit johnblockreports.com.