Jan 7, 2019
116th Congress begins, Peterson new head of House ag committee

Rep. Collin Peterson

The House and Senate began the work of the 116th Congress on Jan. 3. The House of Representatives has undergone a leadership change with the Democrats now the majority party. There are currently 235 Democrats and 199 Republicans in the House with one seat in North Carolina still undecided. Among the many committee changes, Collin Peterson (D-Minnesota) retakes the gavel as Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.

The Senate is split 53-47 in favor of the Republicans. The Senate Finance Committee which oversees trade will now be chaired by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) who succeeds retiring Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). Newly elected Senator Mike Braun (R-Indiana) will join the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee.

As the House and Senate begin their work, they are confronted with the ongoing government shutdown that is now entering its third week. Many Department of Agriculture functions are considered “non-essential” and therefore have ceased functioning due to the shutdown. For a complete listing of those activities, see this link.

— National Potato Council

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