Agriculture

No letup in congressional fundraising after ‘green wave’ election
Retirement-watch Republicans and no-corporate-PAC Democrats both stepped up

California Rep. Josh Harder, a freshman Democrat, raised the most money of all the Democrats the NRCC is targeting in 2020. (D.A. Banks/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The race for the White House is already dominating headlines, but new campaign finance disclosures show donors in both parties are also opening their wallets to renew the fight to control the House in 2020.

Presidential campaign years tend to boost fundraising for down-ballot candidates, and early fundraising reports show 2020 is no exception.

Hemp concerns and trade jitters top agriculture appropriations hearing
The Agriculture Department’s request includes cuts to research, rural housing and international humanitarian food programs

Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue takes his seat to testify during the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday, June 13, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate appropriators had trade woes and the promise of industrial hemp on their minds Thursday as they sought assurances from Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue of better times for farmers in their states.

Perdue testified before the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee on the president’s $15.7 billion request for discretionary funding for the Agriculture Department. The request is more than $4.2 billion lower than the enacted level for fiscal 2019 and includes cuts to research, rural housing, international humanitarian food programs and other areas popular with lawmakers.

With less Lululemon and less partisan sniping, campaign staffers adjust to the Hill
Some 2018 campaign staffers are working on the official side for the first time

Joshua Kelley, right, managed the winning Senate campaign of Indiana Republican Mike Braun, center. Kelley is now Braun’s chief of staff.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While some Hill aides flock to New Hampshire and Iowa to staff Democratic presidential teams, plenty of others have been making the opposite transition.

These staffers worked on 2018 House and Senate campaigns and now find themselves immersed in the official side in Congress. Cycling on and off the Hill every two years is common. But for those who have never held official-side jobs before, the first 100 days of the 116th Congress have been an interesting transition period.

Congress will probably leave town without voting on a disaster bill
Partisan deadlock over how much relief aid should go to Puerto Rico is showing no signs of easing

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., exits the Senators Only elevator in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Wednesday, March 27, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A partisan deadlock over a disaster relief package showed no signs of easing Tuesday, as the two camps traded barbs over aid for hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.

Senate Republicans made a new offer over the weekend that Democrats dismissed, weakening prospects for a deal before lawmakers leave town later this week for a two-week Easter recess. President Donald Trump has told Republicans he won’t support additional aid to Puerto Rico beyond an extra $600 million in food assistance that is already included in a GOP-written bill.

This Iowa farmer has his finger on the 2020 pulse
Hint: It’s Chuck Grassley

Charles E. Grassley’s sway over tariffs and trade may help the GOP senator save President Donald Trump from himself. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — The eyes of the world are again on Iowa, hallowed political ground that punches far above the weight of its six electoral votes.

The state’s senior senator, Charles E. Grassley, a Republican now in his seventh term, says Hawkeye State voters “want people that don’t have extreme right or left views.” It’s also simple math: Democrats and Republicans each make up less than one-third of Iowa’s registered voters, so winning over independents is critical.

Culture shock may be in store for House spending panel
A powerful House Appropriations subcommittee is set for new leadership, and that could mean shifting priorities

Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., left, and Chairman Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., conduct a subcommittee hearing in the Rayburn Building on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

One powerful congressional panel is set to exchange the South Bronx for rural Pennsylvania in the next Congress — in a manner of speaking.

Following the retirement of Rep. José E. Serrano, four-term Rep. Matt Cartwright is set to become the top Democrat on the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds the Commerce and Justice departments and independent agencies like NASA and the National Science Foundation. The sprawling $70 billion bill is a battleground for numerous hot-button issues facing lawmakers, such as gun rights, immigration policy and climate change.

Challenging food stamps rule, Rep. Marcia Fudge points to Hill workers
“Even this government doesn’t pay them enough to make a living”

Rep. Marcia L. Fudge cited Hill workers in challenging a USDA rule to restrict food stamp benefits for some working poor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia L. Fudge on Wednesday challenged the Agriculture Department’s premise for a rule that would restrict food stamp benefits for some working poor, using as an example employees who clean Capitol Hill office buildings or serve lawmakers food in the cafeterias.

“Even this government doesn’t pay them enough to make a living,” said Fudge, who chairs the Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight and Department Operations, at a hearing on a proposed USDA rule that would restrict states’ ability to issue waivers for some able-bodied adults without dependents from food stamp time limits and work requirements.

Trump, House Republicans meet to line up support for new NAFTA
The USMCA would replace NAFTA, if simple majorities in the House and Senate approve it.

President Donald Trump, flanked from left by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Thune, R-S. Dak., Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., stops to speak to the cameras following his lunch with Senate Republicans in the Capitol on Wed. Jan. 9, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with a number of House Republicans later Tuesday as the White House steps up efforts to increase support for the proposed trade agreement to replace NAFTA.

The afternoon meeting comes after Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer courted House Democrats earlier this month with closed-door meetings on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. It would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement if simple majorities in the House and Senate approve it.

The ABCs of the Green New Deal
If climate change is the fulcrum propping up the plan, economic inequality is the foot stomping down on the raised end of the seesaw

For supporters of the Green New Deal resolution — sponsored by Sen. Edward J. Markey and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — the threat of climate change is a fulcrum to tackle the country’s social, economic, racial and historical ills. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Since the dangers of greenhouse gases became clear, American politicians have whittled away at climate change in incremental steps: energy-efficiency policies, U.N. climate treaties, basic research, fuel-consumption standards.

But they have not enacted a comprehensive plan to address climate change at the scale and with the speed climate scientists say is required to insulate humanity from what is to come.

On the campaign trail, climate change can no longer be ignored
Democrats try to out-green each other as presidential race heats up

The Blue Cut Fire in San Bernardino County, California, destroyed 37,000 acres and more than 300 structures in August 2016. (David McNew/Getty Images)

The 2020 elections are still many months away, but 17-year-old Michael Minsk is already following it closely as more candidates enter the race. Eager to vote for the first time next year, the high school junior is looking for a candidate promising bold action on climate change.

“Climate change is definitely one of the issues I will be voting on along with other social and economic problems,” said Minsk, who lives in Silver Spring, Maryland. “I am tired of corruption in government that prevents politicians from acting on it, so I want someone that will stand up and make changes.”