Collin C Peterson

The Blue Dogs Are Barking Again
Moderate Democrats, nearly wiped out in 2010, have hopes for a comeback this year

Current Blue Dog Democrats include, from left, Reps. Daniel Lipinski, D-Ill., Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, Mike Thompson, D-Calif., Jim Costa, D-Calif., Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., and  Brad Schneider, D-Ill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Brendan Kelly is running in a district in southern Illinois that went for Donald Trump by nearly 15 points in 2016, so his message shouldn’t come as a surprise.

“We see a system that is rigged for a powerful few,” he said in a voice full of gravel. He rails against “elites on the coasts” and understands why many are “frustrated” and “angry” over low-paying jobs and high health care costs.

Farm Bill Gets Two Days of House Rules Committee Consideration
Work requirements for SNAP among contentious topics on tap

House Agriculture Chairman K. Michael Conaway, will continue to make his case for the GOP-drafted farm bill this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Rules Committee will devote Tuesday and Wednesday to the 2018 farm bill as members plow through a long list of amendments, raising the possibility of heated debate before it faces a floor vote later this week.

At the Tuesday afternoon session, the panel has scheduled a general discussion from House Agriculture Chairman K. Michael Conaway of Texas and ranking member Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota on the five-year farm bill, which would set policy for nutrition, conservation, crop insurance and other programs. The current farm bill expires Sept. 30.

Take Five: Darren Soto
Florida congressman on writing music and performing: ‘My constituents want to know that I’m not some legislative robot’

Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., holds a CD from his band. He plays guitar and says he has written “hundreds” of songs. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Florida Democratic freshman Rep. Darren Soto, 40, talks about his music, how hard it is to form relationships on the Hill, and green spots on his GPS.

Q: What about Congress didn’t you expect?

Emmer Wins First Franken-less Minnesota Hotdish Competition
Sen. Tina Smith took over as host of the 8th annual event

Minnesota congressional delegation members, from left, Reps. Jason Lewis, Erik Paulsen, Keith Ellison, Tim Walz, and Betty McCollum, and Sen. Tina Smith pose for a selfie Wednesday during the eighth annual Minnesota Congressional Delegation Hotdish Competition. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Tom Emmer’s “Hotdish of Champions” won the eighth annual Minnesota Congressional Delegation Hotdish Competition on Wednesday.

He was originally tied for first with Rep. Rick Nolan’s “Last Dish Effort” — aptly named because the congressman is retiring after this term — but the master of ceremonies, MinnPost Washington bureau chief Sam Brodey, broke the tie. 

EPA Pesticide Approval Without Endangered Species Review in Farm Bill
Environmental groups describe provision as an ‘unprecedented attack’

A provision in the 2018 farm bill would allow the EPA to approve pesticides without reviews aimed at protecting endangered species. (David McNew/Getty Images file photo)

A provision in the 2018 farm bill would allow the EPA to approve pesticides without undertaking reviews now required to protect endangered species.

Environmental groups say the provision is an “unprecedented” attack that could have lasting ramifications for ecosystems across the nation.

Farm Bill Ties Food Stamps to Work, Adjusts Farm Aid
Democrats worry work mandate is designed to push people out of program

House Agriculture Chairman K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, at podium, introduces the farm bill at a news conference on Thursday. Flanking him, from left, Reps. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., James R. Comer, R-Ky., Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., Roger Marshall, R-Kan., Ralph Abraham, R-La., Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, and Rick W. Allen, R-Ga. (Ellyn Ferguson/CQ Roll Call)

The House Agriculture Committee released its 2018 farm bill Thursday with proposals to reshape the nation’s largest domestic food aid program, consolidate conservation efforts and tweak farm aid.

The bill arrives amid controversy over its focus on shifting funding within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, into work and training programs.

Democrats Put Farm Bill Talks on Hold
Minority party says it can’t negotiate until it sees text and other info

House Agriculture ranking Democrat Collin C. Peterson says his party is done talking about the farm bill until the majority Republicans start sharing information. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For those tracking the farm bill, the top question this week is whether the House Agriculture Committee chairman and ranking member can reopen talks that stalled last week, after Democrats balked at possible cuts to the food stamp program.

Rep. Collin C. Peterson, the top committee Democrat, said Thursday he would heed his colleagues’ request that he stop negotiations until Chairman K. Michael Conaway gives members the text of the proposed farm bill, along with Congressional Budget Office cost estimates and impact assessments.

At the Races: Here We Go — 5 Days Until PA-18
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The Slow Breakup Between Democrats and the NRA
Group’s all-or-nothing approach to gun rights is forcing some to abandon ties

New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich, left, and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid both received donations from the National Rifle Association in 2010, two of 66 incumbent Democrats to receive money from the group that cycle. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Just eight years ago, the National Rifle Association dished out $372,000 in campaign contributions to a record 66 Democratic incumbents.

By the 2016 cycle, that number had dwindled to four.

Minnesota Businessman Taking Another Look at Challenging Peterson
Scott Van Binsbergen passed on 2014 race but is more serious about 2018

Republicans think businessman Scott Van Binsbergen would be a strong recruit against 14-term DFL Rep. Collin Peterson, seen above in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Minnesota Rep. Collin C. Peterson defeated an underfunded GOP challenger who had no national support by just 5 points in 2016.

Now, a Republican businessman whom national operatives have viewed as a strong recruit is eyeing a challenge to the Democratic-Farmer-Labor congressman in the 7th District.