A new year means new faces in Congress. Chad Smith has more on the changes coming to the legislative body.
Smith: Political parties and their candidates spent more than $16 billion on the 2022 election. Randy Dwyer, the senior director of political advocacy and engagement at the American Farm Bureau Federation, talks about the thin majorities in both the House and Senate.
Dwyer: Majority in the House Representatives is 218. Republicans did gain majority. They have 222. Now, that's the exact same number that the Democrats have as they leave Congress as majority right now, so it flipped. In the Senate, it was 50-50. Now the midterms created a runoff in Georgia to decide what this new makeup’s gonna be in the Senate, and then it did go to the Democrats, so the incumbent won. So that gave them 51 to 49. But what happened after the election was that one of the Democrats became an independent, so that puts a monkey wrench into things in the Senate.
Smith: Democrats will keep control of the Senate as Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris can cast a vote to break a 50-50 tie. Dwyer is hopeful the changes in Congress won’t mean a lot for U.S. farmers and ranchers.
Dwyer: The folks that we deal with in the Senate are still there, as well as in the House of Representatives. So, the leadership in the House Agriculture Committee, as well as the leadership in the Senate Agriculture Committee, are known entities to us and vice versa, and we look forward to working with them. We do know that they are working hard towards a farm bill, and we look forward to working with them not only through AFBF, but also at the state and county level.
Dwyer talks about the first priorities once the 118th Congress
is sworn in.
We do have the farm bill
coming up that gets reauthorized every five years. That's gonna be an important thing. But there's other things we're keeping an eye on too. And that includes things like taxes, regulations, inflation, input costs, and access to markets. These are all important issues to Farm Bureau members, people who want to make sure their businesses not only survive but thrive in the challenges ahead.
Smith: Chad Smith, Washington.