Agriculture

Trump appointees routinely bullied State Department staffers, IG reports
Numerous employees subjected to ‘disrespectful,’ ‘hostile’ and ‘inappropriate’ treatment

Two top officials at the State Department engaged in "generally unprofessional behavior" toward staffers, the inspector general's report found. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

A long-awaited investigation by the State Department’s inspector general concluded in a report released Thursday that multiple career employees were subjected to “disrespectful,” “hostile” and “inappropriate” treatment at the hands of political appointees.

The review specifically focused on allegations of political retaliation against career employees at the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, which leads and coordinates U.S. policy toward the United Nations. For over a year, House and Senate Democrats have pushed for a thorough investigation into whistleblower complaints and news reports that political appointees were vetting career employees at the State Department and retaliating against those they deemed insufficiently loyal to President Donald Trump and his administration’s conservative agenda.

Former Iowa governor: Take rural voters seriously
Ex-USDA secretary helped 2020 Democrats shape their rural policies

Livestock in the agriculture building at the Iowa State Fair. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call).

Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack helped devise a handful of Democratic presidential candidates’ rural platforms, including those of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden, as part of his effort to boost Democrats’ appeal to rural voters.

Champion of US agriculture, former Illinois Rep. Paul Findley dies at 98
Republican congressman drew attention for his criticism of U.S. policy on Palestine

Illinois Rep. Paul Findley works in his Capitol Hill office in 1976. (CQ/Roll Call file photo)

Former Rep. Paul Findley, who represented his Springfield-based district for 22 years, died Friday at the age of 98. 

The Illinois Republican was commemorated by the man who succeeded him — Democrat Richard J. Durbin, now the state’s senior senator — as an “exceptional public servant” and friend.

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.

With Iowa State Fair ahead, 2020 Democrats pitch to rural America
A trio of presidential hopefuls rolled out new plans Wednesday

Presidential candidates will be visiting the Iowa State Fair this week, along with the famous butter cow. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Democratic presidential hopefuls get ready to visit the soapbox at the Iowa State Fair, they’re announcing big plans for investments in rural America.

Three senators seeking the 2020 Democratic nomination for president are the latest candidates with plans they hope will appeal to rural Iowa caucusgoers. Those include proposals from two members of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee: Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

GOP Rep. King gets rematch against J.D. Scholten, who he narrowly defeated in 2018
King defeated Scholten by 3 percent in 2018 in a district Trump won by 27 points in 2016

J.D. Scholten, Democratic candidate for Iowa's 4th congressional district, is interviewed by CQ Roll Call at their D.C. office, July 27, 2018. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrat J.D. Scholten announced Monday that he will once again challenge controversial GOP Rep. Steve King in Iowa’s 4th District. He had also been considering entering the Democratic primary to take on Republican Sen. Joni Ernst, who is up for reelection in 2020.

King eeked out a 3-point victory over Scholten in the 2018 midterm elections, even though President Donald Trump carried the 4th District by 27 points in 2016. His reelection prevented Iowa’s entire four-seat House delegation from going blue in 2018, after Republicans controlled all but one seat the previous Congress.

Rep. Kenny Marchant joins parade of Texas House retirements, opening up competitive Dallas-area seat
Marchant, who won reelection last fall by 3 points, follows Hurd, Conaway and Olson

Texas Rep. Kenny Marchant is reportedly not seeing a ninth term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 11:45 a.m. Monday | Rep. Kenny Marchant is the latest Texas Republican to decide to retire rather than seek another term in 2020, opening up a competitive seat in the Dallas area.

“I am looking forward to finishing out my term and then returning to Texas to start a new chapter,” Marchant said in a Monday morning statement that thanked his constituents, staff and family. He said he was going to spend more time with his seven grandchildren and “working cattle on my ranch.”

Rating change: Hurd retirement moves Texas district toward Democrats
Three-term Republican won his Clinton seat along U.S.-Mexico border by less than 1,000 votes in 2018

Texas Rep. Will Hurd will not seek another term in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Will Hurd of Texas has been considered one of the Republicans’ strongest incumbents. He proved that last fall, when he was one of just three in the House GOP Conference to win reelection in a district that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016.

But Hurd, who founded a cybersecurity firm before running for Congress, announced Thursday night that he will be returning to his roots.

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.

South Lawn Tales: Trump won’t urge Ohio crowd to avoid ‘send her back’ chant
President ‘not concerned’ on China tariff effects

President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media prior to his departure from the White House on July 5. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

After U.S. stock markets dipped on the news he is escalating his trade war with China, President Donald Trump claimed he is unfazed by the tumble. And he appeared unconcerned that a waiting campaign rally crowd might repeat a racist chant he claims to oppose.

“I’m not concerned about that at all,” he said of the markets’ drop. “I kind of expected that ... because people don’t really understand what’s going on.” And on the ”send her back!” chant that a North Carolina crowd broke into last month about Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Trump said he doubts he could stop his supporters if they all want to send that message.