Farm Bill

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.

 

GOP Looks Busy If You Count Bills but That’s Not the Whole Story
McCarthy touts record-breaking productivity in the House

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said this week the GOP-led House has passed an extraordinary number of bills this Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy touted exceptional GOP productivity in a statement this week, citing smashed records for the number of bills passed out of the chamber this Congress.

Yes, the House has passed more bills this cycle, but it is unclear how meaningful that legislation has been.

With Only One Vote, McConnell Approves Treaty for the Blind
Majority leader used rare Senate procedure of the standing vote

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made use of a rare procedure to help approve the so-called Marrakesh Treaty. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A five-year campaign for a copyright exemption designed to make it easier for the blind and physically impaired to get access to foreign works of music and literature moved a step closer to being realized, under a rarely used Senate procedure.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday night engineered the approval of the so-called Marrakesh Treaty by using the chamber’s rarely used procedure of the standing vote.

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.

Kennedy Retirement Shuffles Senate’s Legislative and Campaign Agenda
Confirmation hearings could come in August, with floor debate in the fall

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who announced his retirement Wednesday, greets President Donald Trump in the House chamber after a joint session of Congress in February 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With a two-paragraph letter, Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy sent a shock to the Senate’s agenda — and perhaps the 2018 midterm elections.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said the debate over President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace Kennedy, who announced his retirement Wednesday, will likely lead the headlines heading into November.

Trump’s Trade Policy Could Face Senate Test This Week
McConnell not against vote on Corker measure that would give Congress more oversight

President Donald Trump trade policy could face a Senate test soon. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s trade policy, including steel and aluminum tariffs, could be put to the test on the Senate floor this week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he was not against holding a vote on legislation from Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., that would give Congress more oversight of President Donald Trump’s national security tariff actions as part of the farm bill debate.

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)

Jeff Flake’s Move to Counter Trump a Lonely Affair
Even critics of Trump trade agenda not on board with holding up judge

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., has stalled consideration of a judicial nominee over his concerns about the administration's trade agenda. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As if to answer critics questioning whether he would ever take concrete steps to stand up to President Donald Trump, retiring Sen. Jeff Flake is attempting to force action to counter the administration’s actions on tariffs. But the Arizona Republican may be standing alone.

“I do think that unless we can actually do something other than just approving the president’s executive calendar, his nominees, judges, that we have no reason to be there,” Flake said Sunday. “So I think myself and a number of senators, at least a few of us, will stand up and say let’s not move any more judges until we get a vote, for example, on tariffs.” 

Opinion: 3 Ways to Defeat Dysfunction on the Hill
Recent bipartisan moves offer hope for a return to traditional legislating

The Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform must advance some recommendations for change, even if they do not address every issue, Daschle and Lott write. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Four years ago this month, we joined with 27 other Americans to release recommendations to reform how our government works, improve the management of our elections, and promote more civic engagement.

At the time, the Commission on Political Reform, or CPR, was grappling with how to enable our institutions to better function in an era marked by hyperpartisanship. We did not think the tone and dysfunction in Washington could get worse — and yet it has.