House Ways and Means Committee Selects Chair
The House Committee on Ways and Means recently selected Missouri Congressman Jason Smith as their new leader following the retirement of Texas Congressman Kevin Brady. Nebraska Third District Congressman Adrian Smith had hoped to lead the Committee as did Florida Congressman Vern Buchanan. Following the selection, Congressman Smith (NE) released the following statement, “I congratulate Jason on his selection to lead the Ways and Means Committee. I also thank my colleagues across the Conference who supported me every step of this race. I am humbled by their support and trust, and more determined than ever to make them proud. No member can effectively serve without the support of our families. I can’t thank my family, especially Andrea, enough for their support and sacrifice – not just throughout this campaign, but every single day. Leaving a better America for future generations is why I do this work. Jason’s success means success for the entire Conference and – even more importantly – for the American people.”
New Congressional Terms Means New Faces, New Leadership, and a New Farm Bill
By Jordan D. Dux, Sr. Director of National Affairs
The beginning of the 118th Congress wasn’t without fireworks in its first few days, but with the final Committee leadership slots being decided, things are finally moving forward. Without a change in political party leadership, the U.S. Senate will generally look the same. Chuck Schumer remains as the majority leader and Mitch McConnell remains the Minority Leader. While the main leadership will look the same, Nebraska will have a new face in the Senate with Pete Ricketts being selected to replace Ben Sasse in the next few weeks. We are still waiting to hear which committees Senate Designee Ricketts will serve on, but we should know more in the next several days. Senator Fischer will remain on the Senate Agriculture Committee which will soon begin in earnest on the 2023 Farm Bill. We are looking forward to working with both offices in 2023.
The House side of Capitol Hill had its share of ups and downs over the past few days. After 15 ballots, California Republican Kevin McCarthy was ultimately elected as Speaker of the House. For Democrats, after 20 years, Nancy Pelosi stepped down from her post as her party’s leader. Hakeem Jeffries from New York now takes that slot. With Republicans taking control also meant new leadership in each committee including the House Agriculture Committee which welcomes Pennsylvania Congressman G.T. Thompson as the new chairman. Congressman Smith will likely continue to serve on the Ways and Means Committee, Congressman Bacon will serve on the Agriculture and Armed Services Committees, and Congressman Flood was selected to serve on the Financial Services Committee.
This is obviously a long run-down, but the largest question that I haven’t gone through yet is: What does any of this mean for farmers and ranchers? In one word, plenty! 2023 will be the year of a new Farm Bill, and like we’ve said during the drafting of the past few, it isn’t getting any easier. Of the 535 combined members of the House and Senate, 81 of them are new in the 118th Congress. There are another 179 of them who weren’t around when the 2018 Farm Bill was wrote. That gives us a total of 260 new members who haven’t been through this process. We certainly have our work cut out for us. At the same time, it’s the work we signed up for. For the past year, Farm Bureau members and staff from across the country have been working with new and old members of Congress telling them how important the farm and ranch safety net really is. We’ve been talking about the importance of federal crop insurance. We’ve also been talking about conservation programs and why they matter. Each and every time we write a Farm Bill another opportunity is provided for us to talk about how important food security is to our national security. It’s another opportunity to talk about why the agricultural safety net matters. I hope you’re looking forward to helping push a new Farm Bill forward, I have a feeling we’re going to need as much help as we can get.
Legislative Committee Chairs Finalized
After some heated debate over two days on the Unicameral floor, the 108th legislative committees and their chairs have been approved and finalized. Here is the 2023 committee list. Below is the makeup of several key committees to agriculture.
Agriculture – Halloran (Chair), Brewer, Hansen, Holdcroft, Hughes, Ibach, Raybould, Riepe
Natural Resources – Bostelman (Chair), Aguilar, Brandt, Cavanaugh, J., Fredrickson, Hughes, Jacobson, Moser
Revenue – Linehan (Chair), Albrecht, Briese, Bostar, Dungan, Kauth, Murman, von Gillern
Appropriations – Clements (Chair), Armendariz, Dorn, Dover, Erdman, Lippincott, McDonnell, Vargas, Wishart
Transportation and Telecommunications – Geist (Chair), Bostelman, Brandt, Cavanaugh, M., DeBoer, DeKay, Fredrickson, Moser
Education – Murman (Chair), Albrecht, Briese, Conrad, Linehan, Sanders, Walz, Wayne
Speaker John Arch announced the following legislative timeline, giving a clearer picture of what the debate and committee schedule would look like throughout the session:
- January 13 – Deadline to submit bill requests to the revisor and bill drafting office.
- January 17 – Debate will begin on a motion to adopt permanent rules.
- January 18 – Final day of bill introduction.
- January 23-27 – Afternoon committee hearings begin. The bills scheduled for this date must be announced seven days prior.
- January 30-February 10 – Morning and afternoon committee hearings.
- February 21 – Debate of bills will begin.
- March 9 – Deadline for letters requesting speaker priority bills.
- March 14 – Deadline for letters designating committee and senator priority bills. Each committee gets two. Senators get one.
- March 15 – Speaker Arch will announce his priority bills. The speaker has the authority to prioritize 25.
- March 28 – Full day floor debate begins.
- April 11-June 2 – Possible late-night debates.
- June 9 – Target adjournment.