Schertz and Fischer work together so closely on commodity policy for the committee that they have joked that they should have a joint e-mail account under the name “Bert.”
After they took their boss, committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., out for dinner last year in Texas, he nicknamed them “the barbecue twins.”
This close working relationship, which annoys lobbyists who disagree with them on policy, began in 2003 when Schertz was the committee’s intern coordinator and found Fischer, one of that summer’s interns, to be “bright and bold.” But in reality there was already a lot in common in their backgrounds.
Schertz, 39, a senior Republican staffer on the committee, grew up on a farm in south Texas. He went to Texas Tech in Lubbock on a livestock-judging scholarship and, taking a clue from his father, a government-relations executive for a public electric utility, interned summers for both Republican and Democratic state legislators in Austin.
Schertz started graduate school in 2002 and came to Washington for an internship with the House Agriculture Committee chairman. Except for a four-year stint in the private sector, he has stayed on the Hill.
Fischer, 33, the chief economist on the committee, grew up on a farm in southwestern Oklahoma that has been in the family for five generations. He studied agricultural economics at Oklahoma State University and stayed on for a second bachelor’s in business administration with a double major in accounting and finance.
After his internship on the committee, Fischer went to Cambridge University in England, where he got a master’s degree in land economy. Fischer notes that he spent that year studying environmental policy and trying to understand how people without an agriculture background approach policy. He also traveled the Continent, sending Schertz a series of e-mails that began, “Greetings from across the pond.”
Fischer went to Texas A&M in 2008 to get a Ph.D., and had all but finished when Lucas asked him to return to the committee in 2010 as chief economist. Fischer is on a leave of absence, but said the 1,000-page farm bill will give him plenty of material for his dissertation.
While the two work together closely, there are some differences. Schertz, who is single, has lost 35 pounds during the stress of the drawn-out farm bill, while Fischer, who has a wife and child, said he has gone in the other direction.
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Nikki Haley. Jeb Bush. Scott Walker. Lindsey Graham. John Kasich. The list is growing ever longer of Republicans who say they wouldn't even consider becoming Donald Trump's running mate. "The recoiling amounts to a rare rebuke for a front-runner: Politicians usually signal that they are not interested politely through back channels, or submit to the selection process, if only to burnish their national profiles."
"Donald Trump holds a 15-point lead over Ted Cruz in the potentially decisive May 3 presidential primary race in Indiana, according to results from a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll. Trump gets support from 49 percent of likely Republican primary voters — followed by Cruz at 34 percent and John Kasich at 13 percent. If that margin in Indiana holds on Tuesday, Trump would be on a glide path towards obtaining the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the Republican nomination on a first ballot at the GOP convention in July."
In a statement released on Sunday, President and Mrs. Obama revealed that their oldest daughter, Malia, will attend Harvard University in the fall of 2017 as a member of the Class of 2021. She will take a year off before beginning school.
Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”