The House Ag Committee of the 115th Congress has conducted full Committee and Subcommittee Farm Bill hearings over the past few months on a variety of issues, including: the farm economy; conservation; rural development and energy programs; specialty crops; livestock and dairy issues; farm policy and farm credit, and cotton. In addition, the Committee also heard perspective on the farm economy and farm policy last month from Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. Last week, the House Ag Committee continued its policy work by holding two hearings: one, which covered SNAP (food stamps) technology and modernization issues, and another that underscored the importance of international food aid. Today's update focuses on the developments related to the SNAP program.
House Agriculture Committee Members
After taking a quick look at some basic parameters and issues associated with the 2018 Farm Bill (Dec. 8), and exploring federal agricultural appropriations (Jan. 4) in more detail, today’s update looks at the recently named members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees for the 115th Congress, and concludes wth some general observations.
A news release from the House Ag Committee on January 11th noted that, “House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (R-TX) issued the following statement in response to the House Steering Committee’s recommendation of six new members to serve on the Agriculture Committee.
This is a great group of incoming and returning members, both for the Agriculture Committee and the Republican conference as a whole. Their diverse backgrounds will be integral as the committee goes to work – from protecting the farm safety net for producers, to ensuring the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) works to help lift families out of poverty, to rolling back burdensome regulations that strangle businesses.
The release added that, “Below is the complete House Agriculture Committee Majority roster for the 115th Congress.
– Chairman K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) – Rodney Davis (IL-13)
– Vice Chairman Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-5) – Ted Yoho (FL-3)
– Bob Goodlatte (VA-6) – Rick Allen (GA-12)
– Frank Lucas (OK-3) – Mike Bost (IL-12)
– Steven King (IA-4) – David Rouzer (NC-7)
– Mike Rogers (AL-3) – Ralph Abraham (LA-5)
– Bob Gibbs (OH-7) – Trent Kelly (MS-1)
– Austin Scott (GA-8) – James Comer (KY-1)
– Rick Crawford (AR-1) – Roger Marshall (KS-1)
– Scott DesJarlais (TN-4) – Don Bacon (NE-2)
– Vicky Hartzler (MO-4) – John Faso (NY-19)
– Jeff Denham (CA-10) – Neal Dunn (FL-2)
– Doug LaMalfa (CA-1) – Jodey Arrington (TX-19)
Meanwhile, a news release on Friday from the House Ag Committee Democrats stated that, “House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson today announced the 20 Democrats appointed to serve on the House Agriculture Committee for the 115th Congress”:
– Collin Peterson (MN-7) – Cheri Bustos (IL-17)
– David Scott (GA-13) – Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18)
– Jim Costa (CA-16) – Stacey Plaskett (VI-AL)
– Tim Walz (MN-1) – Alma Adams (NC-12)
– Marcia Fudge (OH-11) – Dwight Evans (PA-2)
– Jim McGovern (MA-2) – Al Lawson (FL-5)
– Filemon Vela (TX-34) – Tom O’Halleran (AZ-1)
– Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-1) – Jimmy Panetta (CA-20)
– Ann Kuster (NH-2) – Darren Soto (FL-9)
– Rick Nolan (MN-8) – Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-AL)
Also on Friday, Chairman Conaway announced the members who will lead the committee’s subcommittees in the 115th Congress:
Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit – Chairman Austin Scott
Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry – Chairman Frank Lucas
Subcommittee on Nutrition – Chairman ‘GT’ Thompson
Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management – Chairman Rick Crawford
Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research – Chairman Rodney Davis
Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture – Chairman David Rouzer
Senate Agriculture Committee Members
And, a news release from the Senate Agriculture Committee on January 5th indicated that, “U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan., has been tapped to lead the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry during the 115th Congress, continuing his efforts to put the concerns of farmers and ranchers first.”
The GOP members of the Committee are:
– Chairman Pat Roberts, Kansas – Chuck Grassley, Iowa
– Thad Cochran, Mississippi – Jeff Sessions, Alabama
– Mitch McConnell, Kentucky – John Thune, South Dakota
– John Boozman, Arkansas – Steve Daines, Montana
– John Hoeven, North Dakota – David Perdue, Georgia
– Joni Ernst, Iowa
The update pointed out that, “President-elect Trump has nominated Senator Sessions to be U.S. Attorney General. Once confirmed by the Senate, Sessions’ seat on the Agriculture Committee will be filled by another Senator.”
Also, a recent article in the Omaha World-Herald pointed out that Sen. Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) recently announced that “he will leave his seat on the [Agriculture] panel in the new Congress,” a step that the the World-Herald editorial board called “troubling.”
There will be ten Democratic lawmakers on the Senate Ag Committee, including ranking member Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, and new member Chris Van Hollen from Maryland.
The Democratic members of the Committee are:
– Debbie Stabenow, Michigan – Kirsten Gillibrand, New York
– Patrick Leahy, Vermont – Joe Donnelly, Indiana
– Sherrod Brown, Ohio – Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota
– Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota – Robert P. Casey, Jr., Pennsylvania
– Michael Bennet, Colorado – Chris Van Hollen, Maryland
A quick take of Senate Ag Comm - Red (GOP Members), Blue Democrat Members)- No one from Calf., Tex; Iowa, N.D. each have two. pic.twitter.com/cTAyqoQ8oj— Farm Policy (@FarmPolicy) January 16, 2017
- Illinois will have three lawmakers serving on the House Ag Committee, including one Subcommittee Chairman.
- Illinois does not have a senator on the Ag Committee.
- California, the number one state in total value of agricultural products sold, has no Senators on the Ag Committee, and only two Democrats on the House Ag Committee.
- Texas, the number three state in value of ag products sold, also has no Senators on the Ag Committee, and only one Democrat on the House Ag Committee.
- Minnesota has a combined four lawmakers on both Committees (including the House Ranking member). Minnesota is fifth in the value of ag products sold, fourth in number of corn acres, and third in the number of hogs and pigs (2012 Census).
- There are only five southerners (assuming Jeff Sessions becomes Attorney General) on the Senate Ag Committee.
- Montana, North and South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa combine for seven members on the Senate Ag Committee.
- Wisconsin has no lawmakers on either the House or Senate Ag Committees.