Republicans are widely expected to win control of the House in today’s mid-term elections, and GOP chances of winning the Senate appeared to be rising as well in recent days.
Forecasts by the major ratings services have Republicans with a net gain of up to about 30 seats. Sabato’s Crystal Ball has 237 seats as safe, likely or leaning GOP, well over the 218 needed to control the House. Inside Elections projects that Republicans will pick up 13 to 30 seats. The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter has been a little more conservative but had 212 seats in the GOP column heading into Election Day.
We’re watching: At least 10 Democrats on the House Agriculture Committee face strong challenges this year. Abigail Spanberger’s race in Virginia’s 7th District could be an early indication of how big the GOP wave is going to be. Virginia’s polls close at 7 p.m. EST.
Take note: As expected, House Republicans have no intention of taking up immigration reform legislation until they believe that the border is secure. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., reiterated that point in an interview with CNN. “The first thing you’ll see is a bill to control the border first,” McCarthy said of the GOP legislative priorities.
He also said the GOP will demand spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt limit.
And also this: A GovExec poll shows federal workers favor Democrats slightly in the mid-term contests. In House races, 46% of workers said they planned to vote for a Democrat, and 35% for a Republican, the publication reported. In the Senate, the numbers are tighter, with 37% of federal employees planning to cast their ballot for a Democrat in those races and 33% for a Republican.
Union Pacific believes Congress will step in to avert future rail strike, company official says
Laura Heistercamp, assistant vice president of bulk marketing and sales for the Union Pacific Railroad, told ag bankers on Monday that the company is expecting Congress to step in to prevent a rail strike if all sides cannot come to an agreement.
“We’re working really closely with the union representatives and we feel it’s probable that Congress, if it did come down to a strike, would step in like they did a couple of months ago,” Heistercamp said at the National Ag Bankers Conference in Omaha.
Take note: Two unions — the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees and the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen — have still not worked out an agreement with the railroads, while three more are reviewing their proposed agreements. The remaining seven unions have ratified their agreements, according to the National Railway Labor Conference.
Brazil soy planting 57% complete
Beneficial rains last month gave Brazilian farmers in some of the biggest ag regions a much-needed boost and soybean planting for the 2022-23 crop is now 57% complete, according to the consulting firm AgRural.
Substantial rains in concerningly dry areas of key farm states such as Mato Grosso and Paraná came as a relief and farmers were able to sow a lot during downpour intervals, the firm said.
Planting is still slower than last year – it was at about 67% complete at this time in 2021 – but the pace now is strong and up from the 46% complete the previous week.
Supreme Court to hear Colorado River water case involving Navajo Nation
The Supreme Court has waded into a water rights dispute involving the Navajo Nation’s right to Colorado River flows.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in February that the tribe could sue for its right to water in the river, but both the United States and three states – Arizona, California and Nevada – petitioned the high court for review.

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Supreme Court precedent makes clear that “when the United States creates an Indian reservation to serve as a permanent homeland, the United States also reserves sufficient unappropriated water to fulfill the reservation’s purposes,” the tribe argued in opposing the Interior Department’s petition, which said the appeals court could not cite any sources that impose “any specific and affirmative duties on the federal government on behalf of the Navajo Nation with respect to the water of the Colorado River or the basin more generally.”
Bronaugh optimistic following Africa trade trip
USDA Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh recently led a trade mission in East Africa, where she said the U.S. is hoping to capitalize on trade opportunities.
“We want to deepen the trade cooperation, focusing on the promotion of two-way trade, which we feel can better enable relationships here in East Africa,” she said in a call from Tanzania Friday, which she visited along with Kenya.
The U.S. and Kenya announced a Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership in July, Bronaugh says, adding, “I think there is an interest to have more conversations” about tariffs.
“We realize that there are tariffs that exist on U.S. imports into East Africa and there is a hope that we will move towards more discussion.” She said USDA would share information with the U.S. Trade Representative “so that they are aware that our ag producers are interested in addressing some specific issues with the tariff barriers.”
He said it: "We have a credibility problem, all of us. We’re talking, and we’re starting to act, but we are not doing enough. It is a choice to continue this pattern of destructive behavior. We have other choices” – Former Vice President Al Gore in an address to the COP27 conference in Egypt Monday. Gore also mentioned drought conditions that are “drying up the mighty Mississippi River” and other significant waterways around the world.

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