Agriculture Hub

Opinion: Why Congress Should Value, and Keep, AmeriCorps
The national service program efficiently lifts America’s most needy schoolchildren

Without AmeriCorps, roughly 14.5 million children currently living in families strained by poverty would fall further behind, Dale Erquiaga writes. (Courtesy AmeriCorps Facebook page)

When the new administration’s budget blueprint arrived last month, the math was, to say the least, unsettling. The EPA and State Department would see their budgets slashed by nearly one-third, Agriculture and Labor by 21 percent and the Education Department — which affects my area of work and interest — would take about a 13 percent hit.

The severe proposals sparked an intense and important national debate that continues today. Largely lost in the back and forth, however, has been the proposals affecting AmeriCorps, a program that since its inception has been a model for how to efficiently and effectively improve millions of lives. The Corporation for National and Community Service, or CNCS, which has administered AmeriCorps and other volunteer service programs for a quarter-century, has undoubtedly changed America for the better. But in the proposed budget, CNCS, and with it AmeriCorps, would be eliminated.

Is Trump Capable of Picking Primary Fights With Incumbents?
Threats could embolden House hard-liners, Republicans say

President Donald Trump has tweeted about challenging members of the House Freedom Caucus, led by North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There are primary threats, and then there are primaries.

President Donald Trump’s tweets last week calling for House Freedom Caucus members to be challenged have left the political class scratching its head and pondering alliances that defy conventional logic.

How Devin Nunes Got Where He Is Today
Networking, not expertise, got him the Intel gavel so many now want to take away

California Rep. Devin Nunes is facing criticism for gridlocking the House Intelligence Committee at a potentially historic point in history. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Any search for a single Republican capable of undermining not only his party’s efforts to project a modicum of independence from President Donald Trump, but also the House’s institutional standing in the world of global affairs oversight, would not normally focus on an alfalfa and dairy farmer turned congressman from California.

But such is the uniquely unsettled nature of Washington this spring that the open casting call for the most newly pilloried person at the Capitol this year is over after just 10 weeks, the role awarded by virtually unanimous consent to Devin Gerald Nunes.

Black Republican Staffer Association Membership Has Doubled
Group’s president Ayshia Connors wants to get more black Republicans in politics

Ayshia Connors, president of the Black Republican Congressional Staff Association, works in Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick’s office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Will Hurd, Mia Love and Tim Scott are the three black Republicans serving in Congress — Hurd and Love in the House and Scott in the Senate.

The Black Republican Congressional Staff Association wants to increase that number and it is starting at the staff level.

Van Hollen Frames Trump Proposals as Dicey for GOP
DSCC chief cites health care plan, budget as politically tricky

Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen says President Donald Trump’s proposals betray his supporters. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Opinion: This Budget Isn’t Dead on Arrival
Trump’s budget draws the battle lines between the parties

A president’s budget sets the tone, direction and parameters of the debate over government operations and Republicans in Congress will be hard-pressed to go against a president of their own party, Allen writes. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Every year, Congress affixes the same toe tag to the White House budget within minutes of its delivery: “Dead on Arrival.”

The phrase is such a cliche, and so often repeated by members of Congress who dislike the president’s numbers, that it’s hard to find a news story about each year’s budget that doesn’t include those three words. It’s also discounted as just a “blueprint,” “a political document” or a “proposal” written for disposal. When I was a budget reporter for CQ, and at other publications, these were my watchwords.

Reacting to Trump Budget, Van Hollen Previews 2018 Message
DSCC chairman says budget will be ‘wake-up call’ to Trump voters

Reacting to President Donald Trump's proposed budget, DSCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen said it will likely be a wakeup call to GOP voters. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Previewing a likely political argument heading into 2018, Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen says the proposed reductions in President Donald Trump’s budget would disproportionately hit more rural, Republican areas.

“I think this is going to be a wake-up call to a lot of people who supported Donald Trump that his budget is betraying them,” Van Hollen, the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said at a Thursday afternoon news conference on Capitol Hill. 

Trump Budget Slashes Nondefense Spending to Boost Pentagon
Plan calls for eliminating Legal Services Corporation, National Endowment for the Arts, and others

Copies of President Donald Trump’s overview of budget priorities for fiscal year 2018, titled “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again.” are put on display at the Government Publishing Office in Washington on Thursday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Thursday unveiled the first portion of his fiscal 2018 budget request, a discretionary spending plan that includes new funds for a major military buildup and severe cuts to federal agencies certain to be strongly resisted by lawmakers on both sides. 

Among the hardest hit agencies under Trump’s “skinny” budget proposal are the State Department and the EPA, which would see a 28 percent and 31 percent reduction from enacted levels, respectively.

Former Rep. Eligio ‘Kika’ de la Garza Dies at 89
Texas Democrat served 16 terms in the House

Rep. Eligio “Kika” de la Garza, D-Texas, second from right, claps as Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, throws a football in a House conference room in this undated photo. De la Garza passed away Monday. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

In 1978, Texas Democratic Rep. Eligio “Kika” de la Garza was invited to accompany his colleague Rep. Leo J. Ryan to Guyana on a fact-finding mission and escort people being held at the People’s Temple colony to safety.

De la Garza, like several colleagues in the House, turned down the invitation due to the House’s “hectic” schedule. Ryan and four other members of his delegation were murdered as they were getting on a plane to leave the country before more than 900 people committed mass suicide in the jungle.

Agriculture Nominee Moves Closer to Confirmation Hearing
OGE releases Sonny Perdue’s ethics agreement and financial disclosures

Sonny Perdue served two terms as governor of Georgia. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images file photo)

Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue agreed to extricate himself from a web of interests and restructure two family trusts to remove himself and his wife from active involvement if he wins confirmation as Agriculture secretary, according his disclosure documents at the Office of Government Ethics.

The release of Perdue’s financial disclosure and ethics agreement sets the stage for the Senate Agriculture Committee to schedule a confirmation hearing. The committee said last Friday it had received Perdue’s long awaited official nomination papers, nearly two months after President Donald Trump announced he planned to nominate him. It’s unclear if Perdue has completed a committee questionnaire that is typically part of the confirmation process.