Agriculture

Democratic Staff of Most Powerful Senate Committees Have the Least Racial Diversity
But Senate Republicans have not published their own statistics

Senate Appropriations ranking member Patrick Leahy appears in the Capitol last year. Three of the four Senate committees with the least diverse Democratic staffs this year are also the most powerful. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate committees with the whitest Democratic staffs are also some of the chamber’s most powerful.

Appropriations, Finance and Armed Services are three of the four least diverse panels, according to a Roll Call analysis of data released by the Senate Democrats. Just 5 percent, 6 percent and 13 percent of their respective staffs are non-Caucasian.

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.

Republicans Put Immigration Divisions on Hold for ICE Messaging Votes
GOP members still want to vote on family reunification, agriculture guest worker program

Immigration has bedeviled Speaker Paul D. Ryan and House Republicans, but they will push messaging votes on it either this week or next. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lacking a unified strategy on most immigration policy, Republicans are looking to temporarily set aside their differences and highlight an issue that has divided Democrats. 

GOP leaders are planning two votes this week or next related to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which some Democrats say they want to abolish.

Podcast: Two Senators on How They Got a Bipartisan Farm Bill
CQ on Congress, Episode 111

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., center, and ranking member Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., prepare for a podcast with CQ editor Shawn Zeller in Hart Building on July 12, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

"I'm all for principles, but I'm not an ideologue," says Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas in explaining why he wrote a farm bill that doesn't add new work requirements to the food stamps program. He and the Agriculture panel's ranking Democrat, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, explain their bipartisan approach as they prepare for a fight with the House conservatives pushing the food stamp changes.

 

Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi Let Fly the Shark Jumping, Russia Zingers
Normally staid Thursday pressers get lively

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, pictured here, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi let loose the zingers at their Thursday news conferences. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Thursday’s weekly House leadership press conferences were full of lively remarks, with Speaker Paul D. Ryan saying Democrats on the left “jumped the sharks” in their push to abolish ICE and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi suggesting Russia has leverage over President Donald Trump.

The Wisconsin Republican and California Democrat hold weekly press conferences every Thursday with reporters in the Capitol to discuss news of the week. Their answers are mostly predictable and often mundane but occasionally they bring some zeal.

Texas Tough: Hensarling Hammers Trump Administration on Trade, Treatment of Allies
Comments made at opening of testimony with Treasury secretary

House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, shown here at a February 2017 hearing, had strong words for the Trump Administration about trade policies and how U.S. allies are being treated. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling sharply rebuked the Trump administration Thursday over its treatment of allies and the handling of trade, urging it to unite with “traditional allies to confront China.”

Hensarling, R-Texas, made his comments at the opening of testimony by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and in the wake of President Donald Trump’s trip to Europe, where the president said both that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was strong and yet criticized its members, most of which are close trading partners.

Tariffs Not Enough to Outsmart China, Experts Tell Lawmakers
Two House Foreign Affairs subcommittees held hearing Wednesday

The Senate-passed defense authorization bill includes a seven-year ban on sales of U.S-made parts to ZTE Corp., a Chinese telecommunications company. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)

The United States will have to use more than trade tariffs to force China to curb policies designed to give its state-owned enterprises a competitive edge over U.S. companies and undermine America’s technological future, experts on China told two House Foreign Affairs subcommittees on Wednesday.

The witnesses, at a hearing on Chinese trade practices, recommended strategies including using a new Justice Department anti-trust enforcement division that scrutinizes violations by foreign governments. They also said the United States should band together with trading partners to increase pressure on China to change discriminatory policies on intellectual property. In addition, the witnesses favored action on legislation in a House-Senate conference committee that would expand national security reviews of Chinese business transactions involving high-tech.

The Dizzying Life of Midcycle Newbies
For arrivals in the middle of a Congress, it can be tough to hit the ground running

Conor Lamb waits for Speaker Paul D. Ryan to arrive for a mock swearing-in ceremony in April. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In April, just a few days after being sworn in following his stunning special election win in Pennsylvania, Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb strode into the Capitol, hand clutching a coffee cup, as he made his way to the House floor for a vote. But before he could make it inside, a guard abruptly stopped him. Beverages in the chamber, she explained, are strictly forbidden. “You can go through the cloakroom,” she helpfully suggested. Lamb gave a blank stare. “It’s around the corner,” she said, pointing down the hall.

The first few days and weeks for new lawmakers can prove a disorienting adjustment, especially for winners of special elections.

Past Trump Criticism Might Not Doom Martha Roby in Alabama
Congresswoman faces ex-Democrat Bobby Bright in GOP primary runoff

Alabama GOP Rep. Martha Roby is facing a primary runoff against her predecessor Bobby Bright next week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Eighteen months ago, it might’ve been a good bet that Alabama Rep. Martha Roby would lose her Republican primary. But ahead of next week’s GOP runoff for the 2nd District, she’s now favored to win.  

That’s due in part to an endorsement from President Donald Trump, help from allies, and a primary opponent who used to be a Democrat. 

Atypical Lobbying Shop Targets Lawmakers From Poorest Districts
Their idea is to push together the fringes by aligning members from the Freedom Caucus, CBC

Sam Geduldig and Michael Williams are among the lobbyists prodding along an infrastructure bill through a new bipartisan firm. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

An unlikely cast of lobbyists, odd bedfellows even by K Street’s typically bipartisan approach, has spent the past year nurturing a fledgling firm aimed at building coalitions between dyed-in-the-wool conservatives and lefty progressives on Capitol Hill.

The firm, recently christened United By Interest, is so far a commercial flop, if judged solely by the number of clients it has attracted: zero. But in an unusual twist, the lobbyists behind the effort, all of whom have their own separate K Street businesses, have managed to prod along a unique infrastructure bill with support of lawmakers from the conservative Freedom Caucus and the liberal Congressional Black Caucus.