Ten and done, says midwestern Democrat in House

Approaching her 60th birthday, Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, announced she will retire in 2022 after 10 years in the House. "It will be a new decade and I feel it's time for a new voice," said Bustos. Her decision also reflected the shrinking influence of the farm and industrial heartland in the House.

Democratic platform redirects farm subsidies, boosts SNAP

Farm subsidies would be reformed "to better support small- and mid-sized farms" if Joe Biden is elected president, says the draft platform written ahead of next month's Democratic National Convention. "Democrats will increase funding for food assistance programs, including SNAP, WIC, and school meals."

Growing portion of Democratic ‘aggies’ supports investigation of Trump

Although President Trump remains popular in rural America, 13 of the 32 Democrats serving on two food and agriculture panels in the House support an impeachment inquiry of the president. Among them are three House Agriculture Committee members who called for action this week, following …

Peterson increasingly isolated as Dems take aim at Trump

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.

An Aggie tries to move up in House Democratic leadership

As House Democrats revel in electoral success, Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos says she knows, from first-hand experience prevailing in a Trump district, how the party can protect its newly won majority in the 2020 elections. Bustos, the only Midwesterner in party leadership, is one of four candidates for election on Wednesday to chair the Democratic campaign committee, a job that can launch a leadership career if Democrats win on election day.

Food policy group gives Congress failing grade

Congress "is falling short when it comes to food policy, showing little progress" this year, says Food Policy Action, established in 2012 as the food movement's voice in Washington. In releasing its annual scorecard of members of the House and Senate, the group said the average score was 49 percent, down from the 57 percent average of the two-year 114th Congress, which ended in 2016.

Heitkamp starts re-election drive for Senate seat she won narrowly in 2010

Casting herself as a centrist, North Dakota Democrat Heidi Heitkamp announced she is running for a second term in the Senate, potentially an uphill race in a state won by landslide margins by President Trump last November. Heitkamp told the Fargo Forum that she believes there is an …

Former congressional staffer to run against House Ag panelist Rodney Davis

Third-term Rep Rodney Davis, a Republican member of the House Agriculture Committee and an early critic of the 2010 school lunch reforms, has a Democratic challenger for 2018, says Roll Call. A lawyer and former House staff worker, Erik Jones, has entered the race against Davis in the Republican-leaning district in downstate Illinois.

Food stamp enrollment to fall steadily in the decade ahead, says CBO

Enrollment in food stamps, the premiere U.S. antihunger program, soared after the 2008-09 recession, prompting conservative lawmakers to say middle-class taxpayers could not afford the program. With the economic recovery, CBO estimates food stamp participation this year will be the lowest since 2010 and will decline annually through 2027.

Bustos to run ‘heartland engagement’ as House Dems work for majority

House Democrats are targeting often-conservative rural districts in their drive to gain control of the House in the 2018 midterms, and the DCCC has named Rep. Cheri Bustos of Illinois to lead the effort.

Rural Democrats aim to recover from electoral losses

Vickie Rock, a member of the Democratic state central committee in Nevada, describes Donald Trump's victory in the presidential election this way: "The Democratic Party ceded rural America to the Republicans quite some time ago," reports Roll Call. It says rural Democrats "are now hatching plans to un-do the damage, convinced that a handful of simple steps would go a long way toward winning votes."

If it’s a bad night for GOP, Dems may have a chance in Central Valley

Two Republican-held House seats in the heavily agricultural Central Valley of California could be ripe for picking by Democrats if voters are riled by GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's criticism of Hispanics and immigrants, says the Los Angeles Times. Rep. David Valadao, a member of the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees USDA and FDA funding, represents a district that is 71 percent Latino, and Agriculture Committee member Jeff Denham has a district that is 26 percent Latino.

Democratic platform boosts family farms, stewardship, clean energy

At its presidential convention opening today, the Democratic Party will adopt a platform that vows to support family farms, "provide a focused safety net" and encourage development of clean fuels. "We believe that in order to be effective in keeping our air and water clean and combatting climate change, we must enlist farmers as partners in promoting conservation and stewardship," says the 55-page draft.

Six new Democrats on House Agriculture Committee

Democrats tapped six newcomers for the House Agriculture Committee, including Gwen Graham of Florida, who defeated the Republican advocate of large cuts in food stamps.

Senate may vote this week on Section 179 tax break

The Senate is expected "in the coming days to restore more than 50 tax breaks, all of which expired at the end of 2013, just through the end of this year," including the Section 179 business expensing provision, says The Hill newspaper.

Do rural areas only vote Republican and cities Democratic?

One of the rules of thumb in politics is that rural America is populated by social and fiscal conservatives, so residents vote Republican. The Daily Yonder looked at vote totals in all 3,143 counties in the Nov 5 elections for U.S. House...

As rural moves right, Democrats face obstacles

Book-ending the Daily Yonder's data on Republicans winning a larger share of the rural vote in the mid-term election, political analyst Matt Barron says Democrats face problems ranging from poor recruitment of candidates...

Roberts wins, may be first to chair House, Senate ag panels

Kansas Sen Pat Roberts easily won his fourth term in the Senate, beating independent Greg Orman by 9 points. Roberts says he expects to be Agriculture Committee chairman when Republicans take control of the Senate in January. He would be the first person to chair the both the House and Senate Agriculture committees.

A dozen elections with food and agriculture policy impact

A dozen elections today may influence food and agriculture policy nationally, They range from the Kansas race that could determine the next chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee to referendums on soda taxes and GMO labeling.

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