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Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) speaking to Mike Allen at an Axios event. Photo: Axios

Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) dismissed the pushback he's been getting on the farm bill during an Axios event in Washington, asserting that there's "no reason" Congress shouldn't get the bill done by the Sept. 30 expiration date and that it's "too important not to."

Why it matters: Last month, the House approved an $867 billion farm bill in a narrow 213-211 vote that included new work requirements for Americans on food stamps. With a 50% drop in farmers' net income, high commodity prices and an increase in bankruptcies, Conaway said that there is "no question we need this safety net to keep our producers in business."

The state of play: Within the next couple weeks, Conaway expects both the House and the Senate to go to committee to hash out the bill's language. He defended cuts to the food stamp program (SNAP) by calling hunger and homelessness "symptoms," arguing that redirecting the money for people who shouldn't be on SNAP toward job training programs, apprenticeships and subsidized employment will do more to get at the "root cause" of the problem.

"I need the 70% of Democrats and the 90% of Republicans who believe that work requirements are a proper thing to tell their senators that it makes a lot of sense outside the Beltway...We have 75 days left. I'm driven to get this done. "
— Rep. Mike Conaway

Go deeper

35 mins ago - Health

Fauci: COVID vaccine rollout needs to prioritize people of color

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci highlighted the need to address racial disparities in the COVID-19 vaccination process, per an interview with The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."

The Mischief Makers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers are emerging as troublemakers within their parties and political thorns for their leadership.

Why it matters: We're calling this group "The Mischief Makers" — members who threaten to upend party unity — the theme eclipsing Washington at the moment — and potentially jeopardize the Democrats' or Republicans' position heading into the 2022 midterms.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Obama speechwriter fears Biden unity drive is one-sided

Cody Keenan (right) is shown heading to Marine One in December 2009. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Obama's former speechwriter says he's "preemptively frustrated" with President Biden's effort to find unity with Republicans.

What they're saying: Cody Keenan told Axios that Biden's messaging team has "struck all the right chords," but at some point "they're gonna have to answer questions like, 'Why didn't you achieve unity?' when there's an entire political party that's already acting to stop it."

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