agriculture

The Iowa State Fair: Why do you have to come here to be president?
Political Theater, Episode 87

Iowa State Fair mascots walk by the Administration Building at the Iowa State Fair on Monday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Iowa plays a big role in presidential politics because of its first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses. Even by that standard, though, the Hawkeye State this time feels busier, more significant.

There are more than 20 Democrats running for president, and unlike in previous years, no one is writing the state off. There are also several competitive congressional races here. That means a very busy Iowa State Fair, because all these politicians want to meet voters, make their case at The Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox, flip pork chops at the pork tent and eat.

The Iowa State Fair: A day in the deep-fried life
Political Theater, Episode 86

People wait in the rain Sunday to hear Republican presidential candidate Bill Weld, a former Massachusetts governor, speak at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Yes, there are a lot of politicians who attend the Iowa State Fair to court voters. But there is so much else to this unique event, from the almost 70 fried foods on a stick, to giant slides, sea lions, butter cows and butter Big Birds; even arm-wrestling. A day in the life of the Iowa State Fair with Political Theater. 

Trump’s new hard-line immigration rule at odds with independent voters’ views
75 percent of key voting bloc sees immigration as ‘good’ for U.S., poll finds

The “Defund Hate” campaign holds a protest on June 25 in the rotunda of the Russell Building to honor immigrants who died in federal detention. The Trump administration on Monday announced another hard-line immigration policy. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House on Monday again answered a chorus of criticism by pivoting to a hard-line immigration policy, even though it could drive away independent voters in key battleground states.

With the commander in chief on his third full day of a 10-day “working vacation” at his New Jersey golf resort, the White House deployed Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, for a rare session with reporters in the James A. Brady Briefing Room — a briefing that came two days after former Trump friend and alleged child sex-trafficker Jeffery Epstein was found dead in his New York City jail cell.

After years of promises, Trump again sounds dire about China trade pact
‘Joe Biden is not playing with a full deck,’ POTUS alleges of Dem front-runner

President Donald Trump stops to briefly talk with journalists as he tours his “Made In America” product showcase at the White House in July. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump on Friday did not rule out canceling planned trade talks next month with Chinese officials, saying he is not yet ready to make a deal with the Asian economic powerhouse.

He also announced the United States is cutting all ties to Huawei, the giant Chinese telecommunications company that Beijing considers one of its industrial champions but the Trump administration contends is a national security threat. Trump left open the possibility of rebuilding that link if his team can strike a deal with China.

Rep. Devin Nunes accuses retired farmer of conspiring against him in legal complaint
Even Republicans are scratching their heads

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., has filed a string of lawsuits this year alleging conspiracies against him. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A farmer, a newspaper and a fictional cow are all defendants in lawsuits filed by Rep. Devin Nunes in the last year. 

From his perch as ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, Nunes has cast doubt on the findings of former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III by alleging, without evidence, a conspiracy by the president’s perceived enemies.

Here’s the beef: Trump formally announces trade pact with European countries
EU will purchase more American beef after U.S. president rattled markets with new China tariffs

Roger Meirick looks over beef and hogs sides hanging in his cooler awaiting processing at Elma Locker & Grocery on July 25, 2018, in Elma, Iowa. President Donald Trump on Friday will announce the EU is buying more American beef. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Updated 2:15 p.m. | President Trump on Friday formally announced an agreement with the European Union under which countries in the bloc will purchase additional amounts of American beef, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

The deal, largely negotiated by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and other administration officials, was made possible when Australia and other beef-producing countries renegotiated their agreements with the EU. Under it, the U.S. beef industry will have access to nearly 80 percent of the EU’s yearly quota on hormone-free beef over seven years, European officials announced in July.

Senate biofuel advocates want a piece of transportation bill
The bill would set aside $1 billion to build charging and fueling stations for electric-, hydrogen- and natural gas-powered vehicles

Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Mike Rounds, R-S.D., say incentives in the bill would only benefit wealthy people in coastal states while leaving out rural America. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A provision in the Senate’s surface transportation bill that would help pay for charging and refilling stations for zero- or low-emissions vehicles should also support more stations for biofuels like ethanol, say two Midwestern senators.

The bill would authorize spending on highways and bridge projects for five years. Republican Sens. Joni Ernst of Iowa and Mike Rounds of South Dakota say incentives in the bill would only benefit wealthy people in coastal states who can afford electric-, hydrogen- and natural gas-powered vehicles, while leaving out rural America.

Trump turns dour on trade pact because Chinese leaders 'don’t come through'
President says Beijing is reneging on promise to buy U.S. farm goods. China says vow never happened

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the President of China Xi Jinping (C), look to the photographers while U.S. President Donald Trump looks down before Angela Merkel opens the first working session of the G20 Nations Summit. Trump pivoted away from optimistic promises of a sweeping trade deal with China Tuesday on Twitter. (Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)

In a notable pivot away from his optimistic promises of a sweeping trade deal, President Donald Trump on Tuesday criticized Chinese leaders for reneging on handshake agreements like one to purchase more U.S. farm products.

“China is doing very badly, worst year in 27 - was supposed to start buying our agricultural product now - no signs that they are doing so. That is the problem with China, they just don’t come through,” the U.S. leader tweeted Tuesday morning. The social media post was perhaps Trump’s most dismal description of years-old trade talks with Beijing yet.

Trade Office works through tariff exclusions as requests mount
Rejection rate on the 10,829 exclusion requests on first tranche of imports was 62 percent

The office of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has processed approximately 700 requests for exclusions on the first $34 billion tranche of imports. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The U.S. Trade Representative’s process for doling out exclusions to Section 301 tariffs on imports from China has slowed to a painful crawl.

Only approximately 700 requests for exclusions on the first $34 billion tranche of imports were decided over the past month, with half of those denied over concerns that product characteristics were not sufficiently narrow to prevent unrelated products from slipping through customs. The overall rejection rate on the 10,829 exclusion requests on the tranche increased to 62 percent.

‘Enter hemp with extreme caution,’ Kentucky farmer tells Senate panel
Agriculture Committee hears about the lows induced by hemp production

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he hopes a new generation of Kentucky farmers finds hemp just as lucrative a crop as tobacco once was. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Farmers facing low prices and mired in trade uncertainty see hemp as the next big cash crop, but a Kentucky veteran of six hemp harvests warned it’s a demanding plant to produce.

“Enter hemp with extreme caution,” Brian Furnish told the Senate Agriculture Committee on Thursday.