This week's guest on Open Mic is Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin. The Illinois Democrat sees promise in the opening weeks of the 114th Congress. Senator Durbin says more open floor debate may lead to compromise on complex issues including trade and nutrition, however, he believes tax reform and immigration may be too divisive for this Congress to resolve. During this in-depth interview, he also offers interesting perspective on crop insurance, estate taxes, GMO labeling, the Renewable Fuel Standard and the EPA.
Our guest on Open Mic this week is U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Congressional leaders return to Washington this week with an agenda bordered by trade, appropriations and a pushback against overregulation. The Kentucky Republican sees opportunity to work with the Obama administration on Trade Promotion Authority and cyber-security legislation, but expects push back over regulations that GOP leaders will try to repeal through a series of policy riders on appropriations bills.
Our guest on Open Mic this week is U.S. Senator Jerry Moran, who chairs the Appropriations Subcommittee dealing with agriculture, rural development, the Food and Drug Administration and related agencies. The Kansas Republican expects challenges to new farm programs and crop insurance this year but says the largest threat to U.S. farms and ranches is the regulatory environment in Washington. In this wide-ranging interview, Moran discusses Country of Origin Labeling law, dietary guidelines, trade with Cuba and prospects for passage of Trade Promotion Authority.
The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act has been introduced by GOP Congressman Mike Pompeo. On this week's edition of Open Mic, the Kansas 4th District Representative discusses a national voluntary labeling program that balances the consumer's right to know what's in the food they eat with the industry's need to embrace technology to satisfy the world's growing demand for food. He also talks about the EPA's proposed rule on waters of the U.S.
Our guest on Open Mic this week is Jim Walker, Vice President of Case IH North America Agricultural Division. Ag equipment manufacturers were able to overcome the costs of research and development to meet Tier 4 emission standards during an upswing in crop prices and net farm income. Now with discussion of Tier 5 standards, Walker believes legislators should measure the costs and incremental benefits of even tighter emission standards. Walker says a more predictable tax code and relief from estate taxes would help farmers and the agriculture equipment industry weather the downturn in commodity prices.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts is featured on this Agriculture Week edition of Open Mic. As an overseer of ag policy, Roberts plans upcoming hearings on the Environmental Protection Agency's Waters of the U.S. definition, Cuban trade policy, and crop insurance. As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Roberts is working toward possible revisions of the US tax code as well as Trade Promotion Authority for the Obama Administration. Listen in to learn more.