The top Democrats overseeing the Forest Service asked the inspector general on Monday to investigate whether USDA grant money to Alaska was used by the timber industry to argue for more logging in the Tongass National Forest. The Forest Service is weighing a state request for a full exemption from a 2001 rule that bars road construction and logging in undeveloped forests.
House Agriculture chairman Michael Conaway would move hundreds of millions of dollars in crop subsidies to cotton growers to the disadvantage of northern farmers, said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, one of the “big four” farm bill negotiators. “It’s not just about SNAP,” said Stabenow during a weekend …
Roughly 16 months ago, at their first hearing for the 2018 farm bill, Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts and Sen. Debbie Stabenow agreed to write a bipartisan bill that would be enacted on time, a seemingly simple goal that has eluded Congress repeatedly. With a committee vote set for Wednesday on their 1,006-page bill, the two committee leaders say they are on the verge of a major bipartisan victory.
The leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee have ruled out major changes in the food stamp program, effectively rejecting big cuts to the program before House Agriculture chairman Michael Conaway can write them into his committee’s version of the farm bill. (No paywall)
Two farm-state senators want the USDA to explain why it allows crop subsidy payments to the estates of deceased farmers for two years or more. “You aren’t very actively engaged if you are buried,” remarked Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, citing a USDA eligibility rule.
The Senate Agriculture Committee cleared for a floor vote the nomination of Stephen Vaden to become USDA's chief lawyer with the senior Democrat on the panel, Debbie Stabenow, expressing reservations over Vaden's past legal work and the personnel practices he has implemented in USDA's legal shop. A member of the administration's "beach head" team, Vaden effectively is the interim leader of the office following his appointment as principal deputy general counsel.
The senior Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, said in a letter to supporters that she opposes the nomination of Sam Clovis to be the USDA's chief scientist, "and I call on President Trump to withdraw it immediately," reported Hill Heat, which covers global warming. Stabenow is the first member of the agriculture committee to formally oppose Clovis, a co-chair of Trump's presidential campaign and his chief political liaison at the USDA.
President Trump's choice for USDA chief scientist, college professor Sam Clovis, appears to lack the credentials for the job, said Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the senior Democrat on the Agriculture Committee, which will vote on the nomination. The Union of Concerned Scientists said Clovis, "a vocal climate denier...is an unacceptable and illegal choice for this important role."
Lena Epstein, co-chair of the Trump presidential campaign in Michigan last fall, says she will run against third-term Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the senior Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee. The 2018 race is rated as "likely Democratic" at present by political tipsheet Sabato's Crystal Ball.