Hostile Republicans finally got under the skin of gentlemanly Rep. David Scott. The House Agriculture chairman limited discussion during a committee hearing on Thursday — "We're here to deal with climate change and nothing else," he said — and told Republican Austin Scott, "I'm tired of your disrespect."
The House Agriculture Committee approved a bill on Tuesday to create a $500 million a year grant program to support local, county and state fairs that lost attendance and revenue due to the pandemic. An estimated 98 percent of the fairs were canceled last year and more are at risk in the fourth wave of Covid-19.
The polarized debate over President Biden's $3.5 trillion "build back better" bill may imperil the drafting of the 2023 farm policy law, said the senior Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee on Wednesday. Arkansas Sen. John Boozman blamed Democrats for a breakdown in bipartisanship, saying they were "shattering the farm bill process and putting our farmers' futures in jeopardy."
The Democratic-controlled House Agriculture Committee approved its $66 billion part of President Biden's $3.5 trillion "build back better" bill on a party-line vote Monday, with Chairman David Scott saying he was confident that $28 billion will be added later for land stewardship and climate mitigation by farmers. Meanwhile, House Democrats said they would not alter a tax break that helps farmers pass land from generation to generation.
During congressional committee work on the Biden administration's $3.5 trillion "build back better" bill, majority-party House Democrats approved a $35 billion expansion of child nutrition programs last week and were expected to vote on Monday for an additional $66 billion for forestry, rural economic development and agricultural research.
Democrats on the House Agriculture Committee released details of their spending plan on Thursday, including $23 billion to combat wildfires and millions more to battle climate change. The committee is set to mark up the legislation on Friday, part of the budget reconciliation, or Build Back Better bill, expected to total $3.5 trillion.
Whether they are Democrats or Republicans, members of the House and Senate Agriculture committees routinely say the panels are the least partisan in Congress, even if the harmony is strained from time to time. In the weeks ahead, the infighting over President Biden's two-part infrastructure package will test that comity on the Senate panel.
Responding to calamities that range from drought in the West to floods in the Southeast, the House Agriculture Committee approved an $8.5 billion disaster relief bill on Tuesday to cover farm and ranch losses in 2020 and this year. Producers would be eligible for up to $250,000 a year in aid.
On a voice vote, the House Agriculture Committee approved a bill on Wednesday to provide $43 billion over eight years to bring broadband service to hundreds of thousands of families and businesses that lack access now. Chairman David Scott said Democratic leaders were "looking to move this in an expeditious way to the Senate."
The government would spend $50 billion to assure broadband access throughout rural America under a bill sponsored by House Agriculture chairman David Scott, seven times the amount proposed by Republicans on the panel. Scott scheduled a committee vote on his bill for Wednesday. “This bill will …