House Agriculture chairman Collin Peterson and committee member Jeff Van Drew voted against the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry of President Trump on Thursday, though both men said they are reserving judgment on impeachment itself.
Ninety percent of House Democrats are on record in support of an impeachment inquiry, making House Agriculture chairman Collin Peterson an outlier in arguing against it. Sometimes called the most conservative Democrat in the House, Peterson is nearly alone among members of his committee in questioning the investigation.
Rep. Collin Peterson “is a good fit for his district, but outliers like him have become less and less common,” said the political website Sabato’s Crystal Ball on Thursday, listing him as a toss-up for election to a 16th term.
Almost as soon as the USDA offered to admit land in need of high-priority stewardship practices into the long-term Conservation Reserve Program, the House Agriculture chairman threatened on Thursday to void the offer. “I am going to stop it somehow or other,” chairman Collin Peterson told two USDA officials.
On Thursday, hours before the second-largest U.S. farm group said producers “are in desperate need of a lifeboat to keep them afloat,” the House Agriculture chairman said that fiscal constraints would preclude Congress from a multibillion-dollar bailout for farmers.
Democrat Abigail Spanberger, who defeated Freedom Caucus stalwart Rep. Dave Brat in a central Virginia upset last November, will be the only first-term lawmaker to chair a House Agriculture subcommittee this session, announced committee chairman Collin Peterson on Thursday.
Although they’re in the minority, Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee will work for regulatory relief at home for farmers and ranchers and market access abroad for U.S. farm exports, said Rep. Michael Conaway, the GOP leader on the committee, on Wednesday.
There are many challenges facing rural America, said the new House Agriculture chairman, Collin Peterson. "There is a new farm bill to implement, a growing economic storm in farm country to address, and the ongoing harm of a trade war to alleviate, not to mention the range of unforeseen issues that will test the mettle of the people we’re here to serve," said Peterson in a statement over the weekend.
Incoming Agriculture Committee chair Collin Peterson spelled out an ambitious plan for hearings on topics from the farm economy and the trade war to rural broadband and a review of Sonny Perdue’s decision to move two USDA agencies out of Washington.