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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No matter that his recall of foreign leaders leaves something to be desired, Gary Johnson is the choice of the Chicago Tribune's editorial board. The editors argue that Donald Trump couldn't do the job of president, while hitting Hillary Clinton for "her intent to greatly increase federal spending and taxation, and serious questions about honesty and trust." Which leaves them with Johnson. "Every American who casts a vote for him is standing for principles," they write, "and can be proud of that vote. Yes, proud of a candidate in 2016."
Speaking at the funeral of former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, President Obama "compared Peres to 'other giants of the 20th century' such as Nelson Mandela and Queen Elizabeth who 'find no need to posture or traffic in what's popular in the moment.'" Among the 6,000 mourners at the service was Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Obama called Abbas's presence a sign of the "unfinished business of peace" in the region.
Three million—a number that lays "bare the significant gap between Donald Trump’s bare-bones operation and the field program that Clinton and her hundreds of aides have been building for some 17 months."
In a somewhat shocking move, the Chicago Tribune has endorsed Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson for president, saying a vote for him is one that voters "can be proud of." The editorial barely touches on Donald Trump, who the paper has time and again called "unfit to be president," before offering a variety of reasons for why it can't endorse Hillary Clinton. Johnson has been in the news this week for being unable to name a single world leader who he admires, after earlier this month being unable to identify "Aleppo," a major Syrian city in the middle of the country's ongoing war.
"By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump." That's the message from USA Today editors, who are making the first recommendation on a presidential race in the paper's 34-year history. It's not exactly an endorsement; they make clear that the editorial board "does not have a consensus for a Clinton endorsement." But they state flatly that Donald Trump is, by "unanimous consensus of the editorial board, unfit for the presidency."