As the shutdown continues to drag on, the effects continue to spread. According to Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), of the four shutdowns he’s been through, none of them have worked to achieve their goals.
In the current partial government shutdown, he says congress is working very hard to implement portions of the farm bill that can be passed while the government is closed and most USDA workers are out of the office.
“I hope we can solve this pretty quick. Because this thing is like shattered glass,” he explained to reporters at the American Farm Bureau Federation conference. “It's like a tariff retaliation– you just don't know who's going to be affected.”
The primary responsibility of a member of Congress is to enhance and protect national security, he says.
“I really think this is what this is all about,” he added. “So I hope we can solve it pretty quick.”
Similarly, Rep. James Comer (R-KY) wants to see the shutdown end, but he won’t stop supporting the border wall proposed by President Trump to secure the border between the U.S. and Mexico.
“I'm very ashamed that we have a government shutdown,” he says. “But, as you can imagine, there's strong support for the wall. I voted for the wall twice so far and will continue to vote for the wall.”
He says the majority of the people in his rural district support the wall, but he says there’s more urban than suburban members of Congress.
“At the end of the day, you have to govern,” he says. “And if you don't have the votes, you don't have the votes.”
Once USDA is back open, Roberts says farm bill implementation will be as quick as possible.
“We worked with USDA very closely before we passed the farm bill so I don't think the mountain is too difficult to climb,” he says.