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Moran, Roberts ready for farm bill battle

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Here are today's headlines from the Kansas congressional delegation:Etc.[(Brownfield) Johanns releases initial farm bill legislative language:][1] U.S. Ag Secretary Mike Johanns issued detailed legislative language Wednesday for the conservation and credit titles of the 2007 farm bill. ... And now that USDA's detailed plan for the conservation title is on the table, Johanns said he wants to hear specifics on Senate Ag Committee Chairman Tom Harkin's recent suggestions about shifting direct payments to conservation programs. During a teleconference with reporters Thursday, Harkin said there was "no secret" to his long opposition to direct payments, which he pointed out benefit even the most successful ag producers during even their best years. That, Harkin said, "makes no sense." ... Harkin's approach will likely face stiff opposition from Kansas lawmakers. In separate farm bill-related hearings Wednesday and Thursday, Kansas Senator Pat Roberts (R) and Kansas 1st District Representative Jerry Moran both pointed out that direct payments were the only type of government support for which wheat producers hard-hit by drought had qualified in recent years. That's because the 2002 farm bill's counter-cyclical program was based on yield rather than revenue, and because of a provision in the federal crop insurance program that based coverage eligibility on a producer's yield history. That historical yield naturally, declined steadily during multiple years of drought. For those reasons, both Roberts and Moran indicated they'd oppose the 2007 farm bill if it eliminated or dramatically reduced direct payments. Roberts pointed out he'd voted against the 2002 farm bill because of his concerns about its counter-cyclical provisions. [(Topeka Capital-Journal) Kansans cast party line votes for Iraq pullout:][2] Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Kan., joined the narrow majority Wednesday voting in favor of war budget legislation. "No matter what you thought about going in," Boyda said, "we flat out don't have the troop strength and equipment to sustain this level." Kansas' Republican Reps. Todd Tiahrt and Jerry Moran voted "no," and Democratic Rep. Dennis Moore endorsed the bill containing $124 billion for Iraq and billions of dollars for domestic health care, military installations and farm disaster programs.Sen. Pat Roberts (R)![][3][(Hutch News) Groups urge Congress to pass child health insurance:][4] A coalition of Kansas health advocates called Wednesday for more federal funding of the 10-year-old child health insurance program, which is set to expire this fall. "If they do not provide sufficient funding for the program many children, including children here in our Kansas communities, who desperately need health insurance will remain uninsured," said Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger at a press conference. ... Advocates expect the backing of Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, an influential member of the Senate Finance Committee working on the re-authorization bill. While the senator has pledged his support, he said he doesn't favor raising the program's income level to make more children eligible until the state has succeeded in enrolling all children who are now eligible.Rep. Nancy Boyda (D) ![][5][(AP) NEW CONGRESS: Campaigning never stops:][6] Campaign season has already ramped up for many House seats, even though the 2008 election is still more than a year away. Some in this year's crop of congressional freshmen are finding they must be constant campaigners, with growing pressure to raise money, the threat of a rematch from a defeated incumbent and the Democrat-Republican tug-of-war for political dominance in Congress. In Kansas and New Hampshire, Republicans Jim Ruan and Jeb Bradley, both rejected by voters in November, are already actively campaigning. "I'm Congressman Jim Ryun," Ryun told an anti-abortion rally in January, despite the fact that his Democratic opponent, Nancy Boyda, had already been sworn in. [1]: http://www.brownfieldnetwork.com/gestalt/go.cfm?objectid=2F839E5F-92AB-E46E-4806C5E2F81DBD22 [2]: http://cjonline.com/stories/042607/kan_165663607.shtml [3]: http://roberts.senate.gov/Roberts-020405-18060-080-CFFflipped.jpg [4]: http://www.hutchnews.com/news/regional/stories/kidinsurance042607.shtml [5]: http://ljworld.com/specials/election04/primary/boyda.jpg [6]: http://www.mlive.com/newsflash/politics/index.ssf?/base/politics-0/1177655576230860.xml&storylist=electionmi

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