FROM Vincent Smith
The Farm Bill and America's Food Supply The Farm Bill dates back to the Great Depression, when family farms were in trouble and many Americans could not afford what they needed to eat. It gives taxpayer support to a huge range of Americans, from the poor who survive on food stamps to wealthy farmers insured against losses. New versions have passed roughly every five years on a bipartisan basis, but the latest effort is more evidence that there is no bipartisanship any more. Republicans in the House and Democrats in the Senate have passed different versions, and compromise may fall victim to competing interests and ideologies. A conference committee with 41 members from both sides is meeting behind closed doors to work out a compromise. If there's no agreement, farm policy could revert back to 1938, driving an increase in the price of some foods.
Does the Farm Lobby Really Want to Cut Subsidies? Last Friday was the deadline for suggestions to the bipartisan supercommittee on debt, which received more than 175,000 ideas from other lawmakers, think tanks, lobbyists and the public. Among them was a proposal from farm-state legislators to reduce agricultural subsidies by $5 billion. But that's not all they wanted. Is it pulling a "bait and switch?"
White House budget proposal slashes and burns President Trump's first budget request is considered dead on arrival in Congress — a familiar development in Capitol Hill. We hear what it reveals about the priorities of the new administration. What's likely to die… and what might survive?
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Trump plays scolder-in-chief with NATO allies At the opening of NATO’s dramatic new headquarters in Brussels today, President Trump acknowledged that Article 5 — promising that “an attack on one nation is an attack on all” -- has only been invoked one time: in the aftermath of September 11. But the President failed to provide what 27 other Alliance members have been waiting for: a re-commitment by America’s new leader to Article 5. Instead, they got a scolding.