Conservatives Find Political Red Meat in USDA Diet Guidelines

From the IRS to the Environmental Protection Agency to the Federal Communications Commission, federal agencies are under more scrutiny from congressional Republicans concerned about regulatory overreach than at any time in Barack Obama's presidency.  

Add the Department of Agriculture to the list. A group of 71 GOP House members has jumped into a growing controversy over proposed new dietary guidelines for Americans released earlier this year by a USDA advisory committee.  

Ohio Democrat Pushes Healthy Eating as Fiscal Issue

Ryan, right, with Rep. Lois Capps, is working to get his colleagues to equate healthy eating with saving money on government health care costs. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Tim Ryan’s ideal world would contain children snacking on salad at the school lunch table, local farmers supplying organic fruit to universities and community gardens replacing even the most dilapidated urban centers.  

“The Real Food Revolution: Healthy Eating, Green Groceries, and the Return of the American Family Farm” offers a blueprint for federal policies the Ohio Democrat believes could open a pathway to such a society.  

Marlin Stutzman's Long Game

Stutzman first arrived in 2010, and has bigger-picture goals that are years in the making. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Marlin Stutzman knows how to plant seeds.  

When the Indiana Republican mounted his campaign for majority whip, it was such a long shot he didn't expect to win — at least not this time.  

Steve Scalise Collects Conservative Victories, Looks to Health Care

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In his Rayburn office on Capitol Hill, Rep. Steve Scalise has a case of triumphs.  

The Louisiana Republican exhibits an impressive array of corks under glass in a custom-made display-box coffee table. Each was popped from a Champagne bottle to mark a momentous occasion: averting the New Year's 2013 fiscal cliff, personal achievements such as becoming chairman of the Republican Study Committee and local legislative milestones such as funding for the Gulf Coast recovery.  

Farm Bill Finally Passes the House (Updated)

Stabenow was a key negotiator of the conference report. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 2:31 p.m. | Almost six months after the farm bill went down on the floor in partisan flames and GOP whip counts necessitated a variety of political maneuvers just to get the measure to conference, the House on Wednesday morning finally passed a five-year reauthorization of the nation's agriculture and nutrition programs. The fiercely negotiated farm bill conference report cleared the threshold for passage. Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Sen. Debbie Stabenow, one of the key negotiators of the conference report, was on the House floor during the vote. The final vote was 251-166. Republican and Democratic leaders supported the conference report, conceding that any imperfections outweighed the imperative that a farm bill finally get signed into law.  

It didn't stop defections, however, from rank-and-file members on both sides of the aisle. The bill would not have been able to pass without Democratic support, with 63 Republicans voting no. Democrats were split nearly in half, with many opposing any cuts to the food stamp program.  

Conservative Battle Cry on Immigration: Remember the Farm Bill

Mulvaney raised concern about taking up an immigration overhaul. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A new narrative against taking up an immigration overhaul is forming in House conservative circles: Just look at the farm bill.  

Some Republicans feel they were steamrolled by the farm bill conference report — a five-year, $1 trillion bill that will see House action on Wednesday — and it is now giving them pause about passing immigration bills in the House.  

Boehner Predicts He'll Win Dairy Fight in Farm Bill

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker John A. Boehner predicted Thursday that he'll win a fight over dairy regulations in the farm bill.

"I am confident that the conference report will not include supply management in the dairy program," the Ohio Republican told reporters at his weekly news conference.

Anniversary of War on Poverty Splits GOP, Democrats

Lee, second from left, gathered with other Democratic lawmakers and Robb, center, for an event to mark the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson's declaration of the "war on poverty" on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats may have taken up income inequality as their election-year campaign platform, but Republicans appear determined to not let their counterparts own the subject.

To the annoyance of some Democrats, six members of the conservative Republican Study Committee held a news conference Wednesday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the "war on poverty" and to call for a different tactic to address indigence in this nation — one that is leaner on direct aid and more robust in job creation.

Cantor Lays Out January Legislative Agenda

Cantor, center, outlined the House's January legislative agenda on Friday. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House will have a busy January judging by the lengthy legislative agenda Majority Leader Eric Cantor circulated among his colleagues on Friday.

The Virginia Republican's memo, obtained by 218, lays out the obvious items of business: passing conference reports for the farm bill and for legislation funding the nation's water programs, plus an appropriations bill for the remainder of fiscal 2014.