Ellyn Ferguson

Farm Bill Negotiators Aim to Hash Things Out in Veterans Day Meeting
Republicans lost their bargaining edge with the election, Collin Peterson says

Collin Peterson, D-Minn., who will likely take control of the House Agriculture Committee next year, and Mike Conaway, R-Texas, the current chairman, have locked in their plans for Veterans Day. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The two top House farm bill negotiators plan to meet on a federal holiday Monday to try to find a way forward on a compromise measure that could pass a lame-duck Congress.

Collin C. Peterson, currently the ranking member on the House Agriculture Committee and presumed chairman in the 116th Congress, said he and current Chairman K. Michael Conaway of Texas would meet on Veterans Day to discuss the legislation. A Peterson aide on Friday confirmed the Nov. 12 meeting.

The Devil on Trump’s Shoulder and in the Country’s Ear
What I learned from sitting through Trump’s midterm blitz: his better angels must be pretty discouraged

President Donald Trump’s zigzagging feels a lot like the angel-devil gag in those old cartoons — except not everyone is laughing, Curtis writes. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It’s a setup in many cartoons and films of days past: The protagonist is presented with a moral dilemma, and gets conflicting advice from a devil perched on one shoulder and an angel on the other. The behavior of Donald Trump in a presidency filled with choices reminds me of those scenes, though his angel must be downright depressed by now.

The latest appeal to the president’s “better angels” worked for a little while as he reacted to the massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue, the apparently race-based fatal shootings of two black shoppers in Kentucky and a series of bombs sent to people on his enemies list.

A Democratic Majority Could Milk Trump’s Trade Pact
‘The bar for supporting a new NAFTA will be high,’ says top Democrat on Ways and Means

Rep. Richard Neal, a Ways and Means Committee member since 1993 and now the panel’s top Democrat, voted against NAFTA and says he will scrutinize the proposed replacement. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration included provisions in the new trade deal with Canada and Mexico to win Democratic support, but if the midterm elections hand Democrats the majority in either the House or Senate, the path forward for the revised agreement may be more complicated.

President Donald Trump is expected to sign the agreement in principle on Nov. 30 and send implementing legislation to Congress sometime later. Trump also notified Congress on Tuesday that his administration plans to launch trade negotiations with the European Union, Japan and the United Kingdom in 2019.

Stick With Senate Farm Bill or Extend Existing Law, Groups Say
Agriculture committee staffers in both chambers continue to work on compromise

Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., helped push through their farm bill that passed the chamber on an 86-11 vote. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Unless key farm bill negotiators use the Senate version as the template for a new bill, an extension of the now expired 2014 farm law would be better than using the House farm bill as the basis for a conference report, representatives from nutrition, environmental, small farmer and food policy groups said Monday.

At a briefing, the organizations said the House and Senate farm bills differ sharply in important areas. While they want a new bill to replace the farm law that expired Sept. 30, the organizations say they represent a broad coalition that would oppose a bill based on the House farm bill version, which calls for changes, including to farm payments and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Thin Line for DC’s Newest Museum
Congress’ former cops will wait till after the midterms to visit National Law Enforcement Museum

Rep. Steve Knight, R-Calif., left, at his police academy graduation on Sept. 10, 1990, with his father, Pete Knight. (Courtesy Steve Knight)

When D.C.’s newest museum opens this weekend, former cops in Congress will be watching.

The “joys and pains of the thin blue line” will be on display at the National Law Enforcement Museum, said Rep. Val B. Demings. And that can only help “the relationship between law enforcement and the community.”

Senators Trigger Investigation Into Missing Saudi Journalist Who May Have Been Murdered
Jamal Khashoggi went missing after visiting Saudi consulate in Turkey

Protesters hold posters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi  at the entrance to Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on Monday. Fears are growing over his fate after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Senators on Wednesday triggered a U.S. government investigation into what happened to a prominent missing Saudi journalist, who is suspected to have been murdered last week in Turkey.

The lawmakers said they expect the investigation to look into the actions of the “highest-ranking officials in the government of Saudi Arabia,” a move that signals lawmakers on both sides of aisle are willing to confront the staunch ally.

Farm Law Expires As Negotiators Remain Divided on New Bill
Roberts: ‘stark differences of opinion’ about House and Senate versions

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Senate Agriculture Committee chairman, says there are stark differences between the House and Senate farm bills. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The 2014 farm bill expired Sunday, ending dozens of programs and putting others in a holding pattern until four key lawmakers either produce a replacement bill or seek some form of extension of the now defunct law.

The four principal negotiators working on a 2018 farm bill say they hope to resolve differences between House and Senate farm bills and have a conference report ready in October for a vote in the lame-duck session in November or December.

Three-Way NAFTA Trade Deal Headed to Congress
U.S. would get greater access to Canada’s dairy market

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has announced a three-country “modernized” NAFTA agreement.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced a three-country ″modernized″ NAFTA agreement, clearing away one potential objection from key lawmakers who appeared ready to challenge a trade pact without Canada.

Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland announced the agreement late Sunday night after frenzied negotiations over the weekend to resolve outstanding issues. If the preliminary accord is approved by Congress it will be renamed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The United States and Mexico reached an agreement in late August.

Duncan Hunter’s Campaign Denies He Called Opponent a ‘Radical Muslim’
Indicted California GOP rep says opponent Ammar Campa-Najjar changed name so he ‘sounds Hispanic’

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., was recorded at a campaign event talking about his own criminal indictment and his Democratic opponent's name change. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Duncan Hunter of California appeared to imply to a women’s group in his district Monday that his Democratic opponent is a “radical Muslim” who is part of a group “trying to infiltrate the U.S. government.”

“He changed his name from Ammar Yasser Najjar to Ammar Campa-Najjar so he sounds Hispanic,” Hunter said, according to audio of the event captured by the Times of San Diego.

Latest Kavanaugh Allegations Send Senate Into Chaos
Reactions vary from unwillingness to engage to angry defiance from GOP

Dozens of protesters, including many sexual assault survivors, demonstrate against the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

As the latest allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh swept through the Capitol, the Senate Judiciary Committee said it was reviewing the claims, even on the eve of a historic hearing on which the fate of his confirmation hangs.

Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley told a horde of reporters that staff attorneys are reviewing the latest allegations, outlined in a graphic declaration sent to the panel from Julie Swetnick, who says Kavanaugh was present while she was gang raped at a high school party in 1982.