November 17, 2019

Political Notes; Biofuels; Food Safety; and Climate Issues

Political Notes: Issues Stemming from the New Congress-

Potential Implications for the Farm Bill: Spending

Jackie Calmes reported in today’s New York Times that, “The incoming Republican majority in the House is moving to make good on its promise to cut $100 billion from domestic spending this year, a goal eagerly backed by conservatives but one carrying substantial political and economic risks.

“House Republican leaders are so far not specifying which programs would bear the brunt of budget cutting, only what would escape it: spending for the military, domestic security and veterans.”

[ Side Bar on Domestic Security and Farm Subsidies: GOP Representative-Elect Vicky Hartzler from Missouri, who will be serving on the House Agriculture Committee, has indicated that, “[S]ome agriculture programs represent a ‘national defense issue’ because they help guarantee that ‘we have a safety net to make sure we have food security in our country.’” An update at the Environmental Working Group’s Blog in November disputed the idea of linking farm subsidies to domestic security concerns.]

Ms. Calmes noted that, “The reductions that would be required in the remaining federal programs, including education and transportation, would be so deep — roughly 20 percent on average — that Senate Republicans have not joined the $100 billion pledge that House Republicans, led by the incoming speaker, Representative John A. Boehner, made to voters before November’s midterm elections.”