Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says addressing the COVID-19 pandemic remains top of mind as he returns to USDA, but he also will be addressing climate policy, workforce issues and other matters in the early days of his tenure.
There are new signs of division on the Senate Agriculture Committee when it comes to climate change. The committee’s top Republican, John Boozman, told members of the National Cotton Council Thursday that funding to address climate change could come out of existing farm bill programs.
The House Agriculture Committee will debate a $16 billion stimulus measure that includes a substantial down payment on Democrats’ promise to address racial justice issues. The committee’s draft bill, which will be part of a broader $1.9 trillion stimulus package, would provide sweeping debt relief to minority farmers on USDA loans.
The Biden administration’s climate policy is still a work in progress, especially when it comes to agriculture. But we have a better idea of where the Senate could be headed, and the implications could extend into the next farm bill.
For all of the historic turmoil at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, President-elect Joe Biden is in a stronger position than ever as he prepares to take office. The Democratic sweep of the two Georgia runoffs gives Democrats control of an evenly divided Senate.