From the food stamps bill on the House floor this week to farmland conservation and commodities regulation, there is very little about the nation’s food supply that the House Committee on Agriculture doesn’t help govern. In its latest Special Issue, National Journal Daily examines the changing nature of the committee, the people who run it and the issues and challenges they face. Click here to see the issue
Searching for the Future of Food
Serving on the House Agriculture Committee may be little fun these days, and even less politically rewarding. The fight to renew the five-year farm bill — dominated by how much to cut from the food-stamp program — has been acrimonious. Meanwhile, the heavy involvement of House leadership, differences over agriculture and nutrition policy, and the declining ability of individual members to influence legislation generally have made a seat on the panel less attractive.
Chairman: ‘The Safety Net Still Has to Exist’
Rep. Frank Lucas comes from the tough world of Oklahoma farming, but running the House Agriculture Committee is no easy job, either. Bonus: meet the 16 people closest to the chairman.
Don’t Underestimate Collin Peterson
Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn. may be one of the most underestimated people ever to lead a congressional panel. But Peterson has proven to be like the proverbial country lawyer who shocks the city lawyer with his skill.
Fight Over Food Stamps Dominates Farm Bill
When House lawmakers take to the floor this week to address a bill that will set funding levels for the food-stamp program, they will be finishing a fight that has torn the traditional five-year farm bill in two. Literally.
The Two Sides of Crop Insurance
Depending on whom you talk to, the crop-insurance program is either an essential risk-management tool that helps farmers when disaster strikes or a Robin Hood-in-reverse scheme that takes from the poor and gives to the rich.
The Shrinking State of Farmland Conservation
The number of acres the government idles for conservation is contracting, and that’s caused as much by market forces — or “nature,” as one agriculture advocate put it — as it is by anything Congress has done.
Sugar Growers Reap Sweeter Results Than Dairy Farmers
Two major lobbying fights over agriculture have taken place between growers and users, with vastly different results.
Congress is Paying More Attention to Fruits and Vegetables
For years, specialty crops — generally defined as fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts — have been treated as afterthoughts in agriculture policy, but with each farm bill comes a little more help.
It’s Corny, But Don’t Call the Ag Committee
The renewable-fuel standard has a profound impact on the agriculture industry. Yet it isn’t controlled by the House Agriculture Committee.
It’s North Versus South on Commodities Debate
Differing allegiances and philosophies among House and Senate Ag Committee leaders have led to a House commodities section of the farm bill that appeals to Southerners and a Senate version that is more palatable to Northerners.
Protections, Regulation at Play in CFTC Reauthorization
Lawmakers’ desire to respond to the failures of MF Global and Peregrine Financial, and lingering disputes over Dodd-Frank, could be a part of the debate.
When Michelle Obama Says ‘Let’s Move’”¦
The first lady has made childhood nutrition one of her signature policy priorities — and it seems to be working.
For staff profiles, graphics and more, see the full issue.
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Since the release of the Access Hollywood tape, on which Donald Trump boasted of sexually assaulting women, "Senate Republicans have seen their fortunes dip, particularly in states like Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada and Pennsylvania," where Hillary Clinton now leads. Jennifer Duffy writes that she now expects Democrats to gain five to seven seats—enough to regain control of the chamber.
"Of the Senate seats in the Toss Up column, Trump only leads in Indiana and Missouri where both Republicans are running a few points behind him. ... History shows that races in the Toss Up column never split down the middle; one party tends to win the lion’s share of them."
"Some Republicans are running so far away from their party’s nominee that they are threatening to sue TV stations for running ads that suggest they support Donald Trump. Just two weeks before Election Day, five Republicans―Reps. Bob Dold (R-Ill.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), David Jolly (R-Fla.), John Katko (R-N.Y.) and Brian Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican running for an open seat that’s currently occupied by his brother―contend that certain commercials paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee provide false or misleading information by connecting them to the GOP nominee. Trump is so terrible, these Republicans are essentially arguing, that tying them to him amounts to defamation."
Former Illinois GOP Congressman Aaron Schock "recently agreed to pay a $10,000 fine for making an excessive solicitation for a super PAC that was active in his home state of Illinois four years ago." Schock resigned from Congress after a story about his Downton Abbey-themed congressional office raised questions about how he was using taxpayer dollars.
If you need a marker for how confident Hillary Clinton is at this point of the race, here's one: CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports "she's been talking to Republican senators, old allies and new, saying that she is willing to work with them and govern."
On Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines threatened to kick U.S. troops out of the country, adding that if he remains president for more than one term he will move to terminate all military deals with America. Last week, Duterte called for a separation between the two countries, though other government officials immediately said he did not mean that literally.