Control of House, Senate may matter more than House, Senate ag seats |

Control of House, Senate may matter more than House, Senate ag seats

By Jerry Hagstrom, The Hagstrom Report
Three members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, at least a dozen members of the House Agriculture Committee, and two members of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee are in competitive races in the midterm elections on Tuesday, but for agricultural policy their fates may take a back seat to the impact of the overall results and which party controls the Senate and the House next year.
The overall results will determine which party holds top leadership positions in each chamber and the ratio of Republicans to Democrats on the congressional committees.
With the 2018 farm bill expiring on Sept. 30, 2023, a new bill needs to be written (or as a backup the current bill extended.) Whichever party wins, traditional farm programs are likely to be safe, although the Democrats are warning that the Republican Study Committee has proposed cutting farm subsidies and separating the farm program and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which would make it difficult or impossible to pass a farm bill in the House.
But if the Democrats fare poorly in the election, federal nutrition programs and conservation programs focused on addressing on climate change are likely to fare poorly as well.
The decisions of President Biden to campaign in the Democratic “blue” states of New Mexico, California, New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland in recent days and Vice President Harris to campaign in Illinois before heading home to California for a Get Out the Vote effort Monday have been an indication of how competitive the elections are even in the traditionally blue states.
Analysts have said that women in the “blue” states have become less concerned about abortion rights because their right to abortion has been maintained in those states, despite the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision leaving abortion up to the states. Instead the women have begun to focus on inflation and crime, which may lead them to vote Republican.
The president and First Lady Jill Biden campaigned late Monday for Wes Moore, the Democratic candidate for governor of Maryland.
According to the press pool report, when asked tonight about his party’s prospects, Biden said, “Well, I’m feeling — I’m optimistic. But I’m always optimistic.”
Asked if the Democrats could win the House, Biden said, “I think it’s going to be tough but I think we can. I think we’ll win the Senate. I think the House is tougher.”
And when asked what awaits for “his new reality” if the Republicans control Congress, Biden said, “More difficult.”
Meanwhile, former President Trump campaigned tonight for J.D. Vance, the Republican candidate for the Senate from Ohio. Over the weekend Biden and former President Obama both campaigned for John Fetterman, the Democratic candidate for the Senate in Pennsylvania, while Trump campaigned for Mehmet Oz, the celebrity doctor running against Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor.
The Cook Political Report ranked the race between Senate Agriculture Committee member Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., and Republican challenger Herschel Walker a “toss up,” and the race between ag committee member Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo. and Republican Joe O’Dea as “lean Democratic.”
The Cook Report ranks the Senate race between Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Democrat Mike Franken “Solid Republican,” although other analysts have ranked the race as more competitive.
(The Cook Report ranks the races of Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman John Boozman, R-Ark., and other Republican members of the committee —John Hoeven of North Dakota and John Thune of South Dakota — as “Solid Republican.”)
But other senators who do not serve on the agriculture committee are considered to be in competitive races.
The races of Sens. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., and Catherine Cortez-Masto, D-Nev., are ranked “toss ups.” The race of Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., is considered to “lean Democrat,” while the race of Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., is ranked “lean Republican.”
The races of Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Marco Rubio, R-Fla. are considered to be “likely Republican,” and the race of Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., is ranked “likely Democrat.”
On the House side, the Cook Report considers 35 races to be in the “toss up” category.
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