“Argh! I think he’s holding up the whole bill, I’ve heard,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said, before adding that he is not a farm bill conferee.
“It’s crazy,” McCain continued. “It’s a pure protectionist measure to preserve the catfish industry in Mississippi and the South, OK? And so, I said, look I’m interested in my constituents being able to buy catfish at a lower price than when there’s no competition.”
McCain called the catfish fight “outrageous and sometimes entertaining” but declined to say whether Cochran has intensified his efforts since launching his re-election campaign.
When asked to address the criticism of his colleague on the issue — and McCain certainly is not alone in it — Cochran defended his position.
“So what?” Cochran said. “I’m here to represent the interests of my constituents. And we have a strong and important part of our economy that’s based on farm-raised catfish. And those constituents are disappointed when our government doesn’t insist on at least requiring disclosure of what the American people are buying in supermarkets and stores.”
Cochran also does not believe he needs to take a special stand now as part of an additional case to Mississippians about the power he has accrued over decades of service.
“It’s my job. I’m here to represent the interests of my state and make sure people are being treated fairly, just like every other state, as well,” Cochran said. “It’s not limited to Mississippi.”