Congress is in session this week for the final time this year before the election. I sort of shrugged this off as fairly typical for an election year, but it’s not. Usually, Congress stays in session until about a month before the election. Here they’re leaving with seven weeks to go. The do-nothing Congress has decided to double up on doing nothing.
|By: David Dayen Tuesday September 18, 2012 7:36 am|
|By: David Dayen Thursday September 13, 2012 5:00 pm|
While the House will pass their six-month stopgap budget bill today, pushing government spending authority out to March, one other September 30 deadline remains outstanding, and Congress looks prepared to let it expire. That would be the authorization for farm programs. If nothing is done, the farm programs would revert back to the policy of decades ago.
|By: David Dayen Monday August 27, 2012 2:45 pm|
Farmers had already prepared for extreme weather events by purchasing more and more crop insurance in recent years. So when a historic drought hit this summer, many crop producers had the ability to handle it, although livestock producers seeing a spike in their feed costs still face major challenges. But the insurance industry will take a massive hit from crop insurance payouts, much of it reimbursed by the government, and that could rebound back to the economy.
|By: David Dayen Wednesday August 22, 2012 8:25 am|
A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court, voting 2-1 on partisan lines, has struck down the EPA’s “good neighbor” air pollution rule, which attempted to protect Eastern states from upwind pollution from Midwest and Southern states via tougher pollution laws. A federal appeals court Tuesday struck down a key Obama administration air pollution rule [...]
|By: David Dayen Wednesday August 15, 2012 10:10 am|
Monsanto and others who market genetically modified plant seeds appear eager to promote themselves as the solution droughts. But if our burned planet forces us to use GMOs because only those crops will stand up to the heat and lack of water, the least that we can do is to inform the public of what they’re eating. California will have a ballot measure in November that would force mandatory labeling of GMOs on all food product that use them.
|By: David Dayen Monday August 13, 2012 2:50 pm|
Republican lawmakers in rural farming communities were worried that they would have to go home to their districts empty-handed, without any tools to help farmers deal with this summer’s massive drought. They tried to sidestep this problem by passing, at the last possible minute, a bill to provide a year of drought relief to livestock producers. They could then blame the Senate for not following suit, even though the Senate had no chance to do so. This gambit isn’t working.
|By: David Dayen Friday August 10, 2012 9:20 am|
Here’s a classic case of what’s good for the US being terrible for the rest of the world. That typically does not lead to good outcomes for the world. Corn-based ethanol fails on its own merits. The energy used in production far exceeds the energy savings from using ethanol over fossil fuel-based energy. The biofuel standards could be reached by less invasive sources like switchgrass and other natural sources. Converting so much corn into fuel at a time of a massive corn shortage makes no sense.
|By: David Dayen Friday August 3, 2012 8:51 am|
The House of Representatives passed their one-year drought relief bill by a relatively thin margin yesterday, 223-197. They needed 35 votes from Democrats to get it across the line, as 46 Republicans begged off the bill. Here’s the roll call.
The House passed this on the last possible day of the session before the August recess, and the Senate did not get around to passage. So there will be no immediate disaster relief coming for livestock producers suffering under a price spike due to corn shortages.
|By: David Dayen Thursday August 2, 2012 11:37 am|
The House will take up its standalone disaster relief bill today, which will serve as a talking point in rural Republican districts as “action” being taken to respond to the historic drought plaguing the country. The House waited until the last possible day before the August recess to pass the measure, giving the Senate basically no time to concur. So there won’t really be action taken before the recess, but House members can say “I passed a bill and now the Senate must act.”
|By: David Dayen Wednesday August 1, 2012 10:40 am|
Forget about the farm bill. The House GOP leadership has dropped their efforts to pass a one-year extension of farm programs under current policy, weeks after they dropped efforts to pass a Republican version of the farm bill which has passed the House Agriculture Committee. Republicans will try to pass a separate disaster relief bill dealing with livestock producers and their struggles with this summer’s historic drought: