The Senate is in recess so it will be another week before cattle farmer Cindy Hyde-Smith, a veteran of state politics, formally succeeds Thad Cochran as U.S. senator from Mississippi. She already has a Republican challenger in the November special election to serve the final two years of Cochran's term, and had a get-acquainted meeting with top White House officials last week.
Seven-term Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee and a leading proponent of Southern crops in the Agriculture Committee, announced he will resign, effective April 1, due to poor health. His departure will punctuate efforts to draft the 2018 farm bill in the coming weeks and could diminish the South's influence over the legislation.
The USDA-FDA appropriations bill awaiting a vote in the Senate "short-changes food safety needs" and "under-funds efforts to address the challenge of child poverty" while carrying harmful "ideological provisions," said the White House budget office.
Challenger Chris McDaniel, who lost a run-off to Sen Thad Cochran on June 24, is seeking money to "mount the legal challenge that this case deserves,” according to ABC News. Cochran is the GOP leader on the Senate Agriculture Committee. McDaniel sent a fundraising email contesting the runoff results on Wednesday and a spokesman said the McDaniel campaign has found 4,900 ballots with voting irregularities after checking 53 or Mississippi's 82 counties.
Companion bills in the House and Senate would triple the funding, to $15 million a year, for the farm-to-school grant program, which buys locally grown fresh food to help feed schoolchildren.
Second-term Sen Jeff Merkley of Oregon is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on agriculture and FDA for the 114th Congress, said Sen Barbara Mikulski, the Democratic leader on the committee, in a statement.
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.
Sen Pat Roberts, potentially Agriculture Committee chairman if Republicans win control of the Senate, rarely mentions his record on agriculture - defender of crop insurance and author of the 1996 Freedom to Farm law - on the campaign trail.
Kansas Sen Pat Roberts, during a campaign stop at a livestock auction barn, told listeners, “When we get a Republican majority, I’ll be chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and we are gonna put the livestock producer first."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and 70 other members of Congress, mostly Democrats, got perfect grades from advocacy group Food Policy Action for their votes on food and agriculture issues over the past two years.
State Sen Chris McDaniel was expected to hold a news conference today to say if he will appeal to the Mississippi Supreme Court or accept defeat in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, says the Jackson (Miss) Clarion-Ledger. Judge Hollis McGehee dismissed on Friday a lawsuit by McDaniel contesting the victory of six-term Sen Thad Cochran in the June 24 run-off. The judge agreed with Cochran's argument that there was a 20-day deadline to file challenges and that McDaniel filed too late.
House Agriculture Committee member Scott DesJarlais is the undisputed winner of the Republican primary in Tennessee's fourth congressional district.
The Mississippi Republican Party chairman, Joe Nosef, says there is too little time to examine all the materials in the party's contested Senate run-off election and told challenger Chris McDaniel to go court instead, says the Los Angeles Times.
Six-term incumbent Thad Cochran, the Republican leader on the Senate Agriculture Committee, has a 16-point lead, 40-24, over Democrat Travis Childers for re-election to the Senate from Mississippi, says Public Policy Polling. PPP says "voters are still deeply divided over the general election" with 31 percent undecided. Childers leads 37-36 against state Sen Chris McDaniel, who lost a runoff to Cochran. PPP said 39 percent of Republicans "think that McDaniel should not concede the race to Cochran."
Six-term incumbent Thad Cochran, the Republican leader on the Senate Agriculture Committee, won the GOP run-off in Mississippi by 2 percentage points over state Sen Chris McDaniel, a Tea Party favorite.
By Tuesday night, former Rep Ronnie Childers "could suddenly become one of the party’s vitally important Senate candidates for 2014 – and a rare Democratic nominee who clashes sharply with his national...
The Republican Senate primary election in Mississippi "has become the nastiest, and most personal, in the nation," says the New York Times with one week left until election day. The race between six-term incumbent Thad Cochran, the Republican leader on the Senate Agriculture Committee, and state Sen Chris McDaniel "represents the last chance for Tea Party activists to topple an incumbent."
In an essay for CNN, Senate Agriculture chairwoman Debbie Stabenow endorsed former secretary of state Hillary Clinton for president. She described Clinton as "extremely competent, extremely intelligent" and "someone who understands what middle-class families have been going through and how to give every family a fair shot to get ahead in life."