agriculture

Hemp concerns and trade jitters top agriculture appropriations hearing
The Agriculture Department’s request includes cuts to research, rural housing and international humanitarian food programs

Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue takes his seat to testify during the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday, June 13, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate appropriators had trade woes and the promise of industrial hemp on their minds Thursday as they sought assurances from Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue of better times for farmers in their states.

Perdue testified before the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee on the president’s $15.7 billion request for discretionary funding for the Agriculture Department. The request is more than $4.2 billion lower than the enacted level for fiscal 2019 and includes cuts to research, rural housing, international humanitarian food programs and other areas popular with lawmakers.

This Iowa farmer has his finger on the 2020 pulse
Hint: It’s Chuck Grassley

Charles E. Grassley’s sway over tariffs and trade may help the GOP senator save President Donald Trump from himself. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — The eyes of the world are again on Iowa, hallowed political ground that punches far above the weight of its six electoral votes.

The state’s senior senator, Charles E. Grassley, a Republican now in his seventh term, says Hawkeye State voters “want people that don’t have extreme right or left views.” It’s also simple math: Democrats and Republicans each make up less than one-third of Iowa’s registered voters, so winning over independents is critical.

‘If you can climb that, you deserve whatever you can get’ Trump says on wall visit
President heads to California one day after backing off — sort of — closure threat

President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference to announce his national emergency delclaration for the situation at the southern border on Feb. 15 in the White House's Rose Garden. He traveled to the border on Friday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

ANALYSIS — One day, President Donald Trump seemed dead set on closing ports of entry at the U.S.-Mexico border. The next, he had shelved that threat — maybe — for another aimed at pressuring Mexican officials to curb migrant flows into the United States.

That followed a retreat by the president on trying to pressure congressional Republicans into another attempt to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s entire 2010 health law. Fittingly, the latest roller coaster-like week of the Trump era ended with a presidential trip to the southern border.

Chinese President Xi isn’t headed to Mar-a-Lago for a trade summit just yet
‘If we have a deal, we’ll have a summit,’ Trump says

President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in the Oval Office on Feb. 22. The senior Chinese official was back there Thursday to discuss a possible trade deal as talks between the two countries continue. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

Chinese President Xi Jinping isn’t headed to Donald Trump’s ornate Mar-a-Lago property just yet to talk trade.

The U.S. president told reporters Thursday afternoon he is not ready to invite the Chinese leader to his South Florida resort to try and finalize a trade pact because the two economic giants are not close enough to an agreement to bring in — in baseball terms — the closers.

Challenging food stamps rule, Rep. Marcia Fudge points to Hill workers
“Even this government doesn’t pay them enough to make a living”

Rep. Marcia L. Fudge cited Hill workers in challenging a USDA rule to restrict food stamp benefits for some working poor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia L. Fudge on Wednesday challenged the Agriculture Department’s premise for a rule that would restrict food stamp benefits for some working poor, using as an example employees who clean Capitol Hill office buildings or serve lawmakers food in the cafeterias.

“Even this government doesn’t pay them enough to make a living,” said Fudge, who chairs the Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight and Department Operations, at a hearing on a proposed USDA rule that would restrict states’ ability to issue waivers for some able-bodied adults without dependents from food stamp time limits and work requirements.

To win in 2020, Elizabeth Warren channels a message from ... 1896?
The Massachusetts Democrat quotes William Jennings Bryan in her campaign against big agribusiness

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has a new target: big agribusiness. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has a new target in her campaign against big businesses: integrated agricultural conglomerates like Tyson Foods.

And in making the policy announcement, she’s channeling William Jennings Bryan.

Last year’s food stamps battle was contentious. This year Trump upped the ante
The Trump administration budget wants food stamp recipients under 65 to have work requirements

Copies of President Donald Trump’s budget for Fiscal Year 2020 run through the binding process at the Government Publishing Office in Washington on Thursday, March 7, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration would expand the pool of adult food stamp recipients subject to work, job-training or community service requirements to include people up to age 65, according to fiscal 2020 budget documents released Monday.

The proposal is broader than provisions in last year’s contentious House farm bill that called for applying work requirements under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, to able-bodied adults between the ages 18 and 59 with no dependents or with children older than 6. The proposal would have raised the age limit for adults subject to the work requirement from age 49.

Trump overshadows Brazilian president’s visit by attacking Kellyanne Conway’s husband
President dubs George Conway a ‘total loser’ after attorney challenged Trump’s mental health

Kellyanne Conway speaks to the press outside of the White House on the North Lawn. President Trump and her husband, George Conway, are in the midst of a Twitter feud. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A number of foreign leaders have visited the White House in recent weeks with little fanfare, but President Donald Trump’s aides are setting big expectations for Tuesday’s visit by the “Trump of the Tropics.”

Yet, on what White House officials hope will be a paradigm-shifting day, Trump and his team got an early start on stepping on their own intended message about “fundamentally” overhauling relations with South America’s largest economy.

Trump budget request triggers clash with Congress
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 102

Copies of President Donald Trump’s budget for Fiscal Year 2020 are prepared for distribution at the Government Publishing Office in Washington. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Disaster aid fix would open spigot for cherry growers
The provision on its face strains the definition of ‘emergency,’ but Washington cherry growers are smarting from China’s retaliatory tariffs

Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., says the trade war has led to some $96 million in losses to sweet cherry producers for the 2018 growing season. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Talk about a sweetener.

An arcane provision moving through Congress as part of must-pass disaster aid legislation would let farmers earning more than $900,000 on average for the past three years qualify for President Donald Trump’s $12 billion program compensating producers for trade-related losses.