The budget impasse that has closed down most of USDA and other agencies important to agriculture for more than four weeks reaches a new stage this week as Senate Republicans force a vote on President Donald Trump’s latest proposal to congressional Democrats.
The policy session at the close of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual convention wasn’t exactly an action-packed affair, but several policy shifts approved by members could have ripple effects on farm policy.
Iowa Rep. Steve King, who represents one of the most agriculturally intensive districts in the nation, is being stripped of his House committee assignments, including senior positions on the Agriculture and Judiciary panels, as punishment for his latest racially insensitive comments.
In his kickoff speech at the outset of the 2019 American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual convention, AFBF President Zippy Duvall listed a laundry list of reasons why last year was one to forget in production agriculture, but said it was a banner year for Farm Bureau’s lobbying efforts.
The Environmental Protection Agency has decided to withdraw proposals under review at the Office of Management and Budget to lower the minimum age of farmworkers and certified applicators who handle pesticides.
The Democrats taking over House committees and subcommittees will push back hard against the Trump administration’s environmental policies and put a major focus on climate change, but ag groups will need to find allies on trade and other key issues.
Lawmakers face a packed agenda when the new Congress begins on Thursday, starting with finding a resolution to the government shutdown that hit USDA, the Interior Department and other departments and agencies in December.