Newsline: Washington Watch
Industry Bullish on New House Ag LeaderThe 108th Congress got started with a surprising change at the head of the House Agriculture Committee. Shortly after winning re-election in November, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest (R-TX) surprised Washington by announcing he would resign his Congressional seat in May. In a statement at the time, Combest cited personal reasons, saying he and his wife wanted to spend more time together.
Congressman John Boehner (R-OH) would have been next in line to become chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, but decided to step aside so he can remain chairman of the Education and Workforce Committee. That cleared the way for Virginia Republican Bob Goodlatte to head the key panel.
“I am honored to have been chosen to serve in this position of leadership,” Goodlatte said. “The work of the Agriculture Committee affects the lives of every American. Just in the last session of Congress we addressed a wide number of issues ranging from bioterrorism and homeland security to food stamps and welfare reform, from conservation and nutrition to forest management, trade and rural development.”
In declining to seek the chairmanship, Boehner endorsed Goodlatte, who has earned high praise over the years from dairy manufacturers. “Goodlatte is consistently pro-business and free trade. He’s a strong leader and we welcome the opportunity to work with him,” said Connie Tipton, senior group v.p. of the International Dairy Foods Association.