Agriculture

Republican Divide, Mistrust Dooms Farm Bill in House
Failure is major blow to House Republican leaders

Despite pleas from Speaker Paul D. Ryan and his leadership team, Republicans did not united behind the farm bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 5:20 p.m. | The farm bill’s defeat Friday wasn’t the outcome House Republican leadership was expecting. 

GOP leaders headed to the floor for the vote with an inconclusive whip count. They knew the vote would be close. But they felt fairly confident based on private conversations they had throughout the week that their commitment to hold a vote on immigration legislation in the coming weeks would sway enough Freedom Caucus members whose votes they needed.

Farm Bill Flux: Moderate Republicans Not Lining Up to Support
Freedom Caucus senses opportunity to leverage influence

Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J., is among several moderate Republicans opposed or leaning to opposition to the farm bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Several moderate House Republicans are firmly opposed to the farm bill or considering voting against it, providing leverage to conservatives who are trying to make their support contingent on securing a separate vote on an immigration bill.

New Jersey Reps. Frank LoBiondo, Christopher Smith, Leonard Lance and Rodney Frelinghuysen said they are “no” or leaning “no” on the farm bill.

Farm Bill Gets Two Days of House Rules Committee Consideration
Work requirements for SNAP among contentious topics on tap

House Agriculture Chairman K. Michael Conaway, will continue to make his case for the GOP-drafted farm bill this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Rules Committee will devote Tuesday and Wednesday to the 2018 farm bill as members plow through a long list of amendments, raising the possibility of heated debate before it faces a floor vote later this week.

At the Tuesday afternoon session, the panel has scheduled a general discussion from House Agriculture Chairman K. Michael Conaway of Texas and ranking member Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota on the five-year farm bill, which would set policy for nutrition, conservation, crop insurance and other programs. The current farm bill expires Sept. 30.

All of a Sudden, a Busy House Floor Schedule
Legislative to-do list grows ahead of 2018 midterms

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., left, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., have a lot of bills they’re planning to bring to the floor in the coming weeks. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House’s legislative wheels are kicking into high gear this week.

After four months of mostly sleepy floor activity — not counting the protracted fiscal 2018 spending fight that led to two partial government shutdowns and a few other bills, like a reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration — the House has enough major legislation coming out of its committees to fill the floor schedule for the next two to three months.

Podcast: Conservatives Fight Trump on Trade When Congress Won't
CQ on Congress, Episode 102

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and President Donald Trump pose for photographs at the White House in October. The United States, Canada and Mexico are currently engaged in renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

Nine House Members Pushing for Gubernatorial Promotion
But for many, the road to the governor’s mansion won’t be easy

Of all the House members running for governor this year, Hawaii Rep. Colleen Hanabusa may have the best shot. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Just seven of the 50 current governors have previously served in the House, and only five of those were elected directly from the House without holding a statewide office or another job in the interim period. But a handful of lawmakers are hoping to buck the trend and push that total number closer to double digits.

Many of them have to navigate competitive primaries first, and the precedent for members getting elected governor isn’t great. But while most of them are leaving behind safe seats, there’s an upside: becoming their state’s top elected official and departing from an unpopular Congress.

Frozen, Canned Fruit Could Become Norm for Fresh Produce Program
Measure to ease restrictions on processed goods included in House farm bill

Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, is championing a proposal in the new House farm bill that would include frozen and canned fruit in the federal Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the House GOP wrestles with whether to overhaul the food stamp program and tie it to work in the new farm bill that passed the Agriculture Committee in April, other small changes to the previous law stand out that could markedly affect longstanding federal nutrition programs.

Some lawmakers want to add frozen, canned, pureed and dried produce to the menus of the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for schoolchildren.

Bishop Wants Answers on USDA Program That Kills Kittens
USDA disputes congressman’s estimate of cats used in ‘critical research’ of toxoplasmosis

Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Mich., wants answers on a program by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that he says led to the deaths of kittens. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Michigan Rep. Mike Bishop wants an investigation into the Department of Agriculture’s “secretive and problematic” experiments that have reportedly led to the deaths of hundreds of kittens.

Bishop sent a letter on Tuesday to Secretary Sonny Perdue about the cats’ treatment in the experiments, WTOP reported.

Opinion: America Needs to Recommit to Investing in Science
The recent omnibus spending package is a good first step

A research technician at the New York Genome Center in 2013. Reviving federal investment in scientific research is crucial given the high costs associated with new technologies, Stockwell writes. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images file photo)

When it comes to science, the United States is getting its lunch handed to it by countries such as China, which not only invests more dollars into scientific research and development but also produces more undergraduate science and engineering majors than we do stateside.

The National Science Foundation’s Science & Engineering Indicators recently warned that U.S. dominance in scientific advancement is under serious threat. This warning was reaffirmed by the 2018 Bloomberg Innovation Index, in which the U.S. did not even rank among the top ten most innovative countries in the world anymore.

In Face of May Day Protests, Here’s Where Senators Stand on Labor
See where senators stand on immigration reform, minimum wage and right-to-work

Immigration rights activists rally in Dupont Circle in Washington before their May Day march to the White House to oppose President Donald Trump’s immigration policies on May 1, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Protesters took to the streets this week for May Day demonstrations calling  for better working conditions, higher pay and more compensation.May Day protests usually take place in progressive cities and states and focus on low income workers, immigrants and minimum wage jobs. The politicians representing those places and people don’t always share activist views on labor. Here are what senators from a few states with major protests think about activists’ demands:

Raising the minimum wage:“You can bet Democrats in Congress are going to fight to make $15 minimum wage a reality in this nation, from one end of the country to the other,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a speech on the steps of the Capitol last week, according to Vox.Immigrant workers:“I support further securing our borders; prohibiting hiring of undocumented immigrants by requiring job applicants to present a secure Social Security card,” the New York Democrat told the League of Women Voters in 2010. He also supports “requiring undocumented immigrants to register with the government, pay taxes, and earn legal [status or face deportation.]” Right-to-work laws:“We’re offering the middle class and those struggling to get there a better deal by taking on companies that undermine unions and underpay their workers, and beginning to unwind a rigged system that undermines every worker’s freedom to negotiate with their employer,” Schumer told the Washington Post on fighting Right-to-Work laws.