Congressional Happenings

Obama Backs TPP

 President Barack Obama brushed off opposition from Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to a free-trade agreement with Asia on Tuesday, vowing to try to force the Trans-Pacific Partnership through Congress before either of them can take office. Increasingly, Obama has been on his own as election-year resistance to the pact hardens around him. Though Democratic leaders in Congress and both parties’ presidential nominees say it’s a bad deal that shouldn’t move forward, Obama showed no signs of entertaining their concerns. “Right now, I’m president, and I’m for it,” Obama said. “And I think I’ve got the better argument.” Obama’s odds of success appear exceedingly slim. Even Republicans who typically support trade deals have downplayed chances for the deal, known as TPP, to be ratified by Congress this year. That includes many Republicans who partnered with the Democratic president last year to pass legislation giving him the negotiating authority he said he needed to strike the deal.

EPA’s Latest Atrazine Report Ignores Science

A recent EPA draft report on atrazine ignores a large body of scientific evidence affirming the herbicide’s safety, setting a dangerous precedent for all crop protection tools, says Brent Hostetler, a farmer from Plain City, Ohio, and chair of the National Corn Growers Association’s Production and Stewardship Action Team. “Federal law requires the EPA to base its decisions on science. And the science on this is pretty clear,” said Hostetler. “Atrazine is one of the safest and most effective crop management tools farmers have. It’s also one of the most studied pesticides in history-and more than 50 years’ worth of data show it is safe.” EPA released its draft ecological risk assessment for atrazine in June 2016. All pesticides sold or distributed in the U.S. must be registered by EPA and re-registered every 15 years. Ecological risk assessments are one step of that registration process. EPA is accepting public comments assessment through October 4.

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