The 114th Congress may be in its early days, but the Senate Agriculture Committee chairman is anything but a rookie. Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) made history when he was selected to serve as the committee’s chairman – making him the only member of Congress to serve as chairman and ranking member for the House of Representatives and Senate Agriculture committees.
While some of his new committee members are learning their way through the maze of Capitol Hill, Sen. Roberts promised an “aggressive schedule” with hearings on topics ranging from farm programs to school nutrition and oversight of the EPA and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
“Production agriculture must rise to face a daunting challenge: feeding a growing and hungry global population. I will work to see that the federal government is an ally, not an adversary, in this purpose,” he said in a statement.
Trade is another area Roberts pledged to take action, specifically with regard to the U.S. mandatory Country-of-Origin-Labeling law that has been found non-compliant with WTO trade obligations. During debate of the 2014 Farm Bill, Roberts cited Congress’ failing to fix COOL as one of the primary reasons he opposed the bill.
“I will fight barriers to trade opportunities and regulations that threaten our producers’ competitiveness,” he said.
Roberts was chairman of the House Agriculture committee from 1995-1997. He was ranking member of the Senate committee from 2011-2013. The last Kansan to hold the ranking member post of the Senate Agriculture Committee was Bob Dole in 1975.
Sen. Roberts’ counterpart on the House Agriculture Committee will be Texas Congressman Mike Conaway.