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Mr. ROBERTS. Madam President, this isn't exactly the trail I had hoped we would take to get to a successful conclusion on a farm bill that we need so vitally in farm country, for all the reasons that the distinguished chairwoman has outlined. I need not go over all of those reasons. I will mention that we have a September 30 deadline in which the current farm bill expires. The alternative is to go back to the current farm bill, which we know is outdated, and it has a payment system that is also outdated.
The other alternative, if you don't extend the farm bill, is you go to the 1949 act, which is not sustainable. It is not really an alternative. I had hoped we could start considering this. We had three Republican amendments, two Democratic amendments, and also the perfecting amendment. But that is not the trail we are going to go down.
Basically, I think about the only thing I can add is that we are not giving up. We can't. We will keep working as hard as we can to accommodate all Members. I know there is a lot of talk on both sides of the aisle about a global agreement. That seems to be a little bit of an exaggeration, more especially for this body. At any rate, that agreement would encompass every Members' concern at least, and we would go back to what the Senate used to be and have everybody offer amendments and debate them and then vote and have a conclusion. That is exactly what we did when we marked up the bill with over 100 amendments in 4 1/2 hours. That was a record. That is not what we are going to do as of tomorrow. At least there is some degree of movement.
I know the Senator from Iowa has several amendments that are extremely important to the future of agriculture program policy. I commend him for his leadership in the past and for being such a successful partner in working things out not only for his State but for the country.
We will persevere and we will get this done. I guess we are like John Paul Jones--we have just begun to fight.
I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.
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