Matt Schertz, Senior Majority Staffer; Bart Fischer, Chief Economist

Matt Schertz and Bart Fischer
National Journal
Jerry Hagstrom
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Jerry Hagstrom
Sept. 18, 2013, 4:30 p.m.

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.

What We're Following See More »
UNTIL AFTER RECESS
Health Care Vote Delayed
11 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
SO SAYS CORNYN
Senate Procedural Vote Now Coming on Wednesday
12 hours ago
THE LATEST
MCCONNELL’S BACK AGAINST THE WALL
Heller, Paul Won’t Vote on Motion to Proceed
1 days ago
THE LATEST
LESS THAN HOUSE BILL
CBO Says 22 Million More Would Be UNinsured
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

The Senate bill "would increase the number of people without health insurance by 22 million by 2026, a figure that is only slightly lower than the 23 million more uninsured that the House version would create. Next year, 15 million more people would be uninsured compared with current law...The legislation would decrease federal deficits by a total of $321 billion over a decade."

Source:
BEFORE JULY 4 RECESS
Cornyn Says Health Vote Needed This Week
1 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login