March Policy Round-Up: 5 Important Stories You May Have Missed

March Policy Round-Up: 5 Important Stories You May Have Missed.
Sonny Perdue, Donald Trump’s nominee to head the USDA (the only cabinet-level position yet to be filled), is moving through the confirmation process at a snail’s pace; he finally last week appeared before the Senate Agriculture Committee for his first hearing.
The EPA is slated for the largest cut of any agency—a whopping 31 %—which would be achieved by completely eliminating 50 programs.
Though he was known for a few ethical lapses while governor of Georgia, which have been heavily publicized in recent weeks prior to the hearing, these didn’t even come up at the hearing.
Apparently, Perdue spent much of February and March taking steps to disentangle himself from his numerous agribusiness interests at the request of the Office of Government Ethics, which is why his hearing was delayed.
The budget proposes a 50 percent cut across the board to “discretionary funding”—essentially the money each branch of the USDA has available to spend as it sees fit to fulfill its mission—including programs related to food safety, rural development and conservation funding, research grants and international food aid.
Or so bee activists thought.
The decision, made in the twilight days of the Obama administration, was hailed by environmentalists as a major step forward in fighting the epidemic loss of pollinators nationwide, because once a species is listed as endangered the federal government is compelled to take measures to protect it—which could have far-reaching implications on matters such as pesticide regulations.
The rusty patched bumblebee, a significant pollinator of agricultural crops, was scheduled to officially join the ranks of the endangered species list on February 10th.
Food Safety Groups Band Together Against “Filthy Food Act” Republicans have long dreamed of a way to avert new government regulations that they see as a threat to the free reign of business interests.

Learn More