agriculture

Rep. Blum to Host Trump in Iowa
Comes as Iowa farmers are reeling from Trump’s trade policies

Rep. Rod Blum, R-Iowa, will host President Donald Trump . (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Facing a competitive race for re-election, Republican Rep. Rod Blum will host President Donald Trump in Dubuque, Iowa, on Thursday.

Blum announced in a tweet that Trump would visit his hometown for a roundtable.

House Set to Start Farm Bill Talks With Senate Before Recess
Senate version does not include new work requirements

Rep. K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, says he is ready to go to conference on the farm bill with the Senate, but work requirements for food stamps are shaping up to be a sticking point. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House is expected to trigger farm bill negotiations Wednesday, raising the House Agriculture Committee chairman’s hopes that public pressure in support of expanded work requirements for food stamp recipients could help move Senate negotiators toward accepting the House legislation.

House Agriculture Chairman K. Michael Conaway said he is ready to go to conference on the farm bill with the Senate. The Texas Republican said the House will vote Wednesday afternoon to launch negotiations with the Senate that will resolve differences between the chambers on a new five-year farm bill. The most contentious divide between the chambers is the scope of work requirements for food stamp recipients.

Embattled Pruitt Out as EPA Chief
Senate now has another Cabinet post to process in an election year

Scott Pruitt testifies during his Senate Environment and Public Works Committee confirmation hearing in January 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is the latest Trump administration Cabinet official to be ousted or abruptly leave, after his resignation was accepted Thursday by President Donald Trump.

“Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this,” the president tweeted. 

Senate and House to Negotiate on Farm Bill After Recess
Senators overwhelmingly passed their farm bill Thursday

Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts and ranking member Debbie Stabenow were united in keeping the chamber’s farm bill a bipartisan one. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate passed its farm bill Thursday by a vote of 86-11, after rejecting a proposal that would have reduced food stamp benefits for able-bodied adults.

The vote clears the path for a Senate-House conference committee after Congress returns from the weeklong Fourth of July recess. Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts and ranking member Debbie Stabenow remained united in keeping the bill bipartisan by working to prevent contentious provisions from being added to it.

House Republicans Hope to Resuscitate Immigration Issue
July votes expected on family separation, and guest worker and E-Verify

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said GOP leaders will keep their promise for a July vote on an agriculture guest worker program and mandatory E-Verify and are also discussing legislation to address family separations at the border. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans’ thorniest issue, immigration, is not going away after Wednesday’s embarrassing defeat of their “compromise” bill.

GOP leaders are planning votes in July on two more narrow bills that are also not guaranteed to pass. Some rank-and-file Republicans want to continue talks on a larger measure in hopes of finding an elusive path to passage. 

Corker Adds Wrinkle to Farm Bill as He Pushes Back on Trump’s Tariffs
Agriculture is the ‘No. 1 target’ of foreign retaliation, GOP senator says

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., talks with reporters in the Capitol's Senate subway before the Senate Policy luncheons on June 19, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate could begin action Wednesday on dozens of farm bill amendments, including Sen. Bob Corker’s proposal for congressional approval of import tariffs and Sen. John Kennedy’s effort to extend the expiring National Flood Insurance Program.

Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts and ranking member Debbie Stabenow said Tuesday they were starting to sort through amendments to the House-passed farm bill to determine how to address them. The Senate voted to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to the farm bill Monday night. The House bill is intended to be the legislative vehicle for the Senate version, expected to be offered by Roberts as a substitute amendment Wednesday.

Podcast: A Growing Controversy
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 13

MAY 26: Farm land is watered by a large irrigation sprinkler in the desert near Palmdale, Calif., on Saturday, May 26, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House GOP ‘Uphill Fight’ on Immigration About More Than Trump
President’s tweets not helping, but Republicans still have major policy divisions

Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., leaves the Capitol in the rain after the final vote of the week on Friday. He plans to spend his weekend continuing negotiations over immigration legislation, striving to reach an agreement on changes before a rescheduled vote next week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump is certainly not helping House Republicans by deeming their immigration negotiations a waste of time, but he’s far from the only issue they face in what one GOP leader called an “uphill fight” to pass legislation.

The House Republican Conference is still struggling internally to coalesce around a bill that members from the various GOP factions negotiated in recent weeks, dubbed the compromise bill. Republican leaders had initially scheduled a vote on the measure for Thursday, and then thought about Friday. Ultimately, they decided to push it off into the next week to negotiate further changes

House GOP Farm Bill Passes; Compromise With Senate Next
Senate bill expected on the floor next week

House Agriculture Chairman K. Michael Conaway says the farm bill vote was about “providing certainty” to struggling farmers and ranchers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House on Thursday passed, 213-211, the Republican-written farm bill that seeks to restructure the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a month after a stinging defeat when the legislation became embroiled in an unrelated battle over immigration legislation.

The vote “was about providing certainty to farmers & ranchers who have been struggling under a 5yr recession & about providing our neighbors in need w/ more than just a hand out, but a hand up,″ House Agriculture Chairman K. Michael Conaway wrote on Twitter after the bill passed. There was no floor debate.

Government Reorg Plan Greeted Without Fanfare
Key members of Congress seemed unaware of details as White House plan was released

The Office of Management and Budget, led by Director Mick Mulvaney, released a sweeping reorganization proposal on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration’s proposal to reorganize the federal government won’t likely be moving to the top of the Senate agenda anytime soon.

“This effort, along with the recent executive orders on federal unions, are the biggest pieces so far of our plan to drain the swamp,” Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said of the proposals. “I am eager to work with my colleagues across the executive branch and in Congress to deliver a more trusted and efficient government that puts the American taxpayer first.”