WASHINGTON – As the nation still awaits the outcome of the presidential election, Republicans will control both houses in Congress even with two races still undecided.
However, the Republican edge in both Senate and House is wafer thin. The overwhelming majority of agriculture committee members won re-election.
Republicans will hold at least 220 House seats (compared to 223 in the last Congress), and Democrats at least 211 (unchanged from the last Congress). Two independent members of the House were re-elected, and two races in Florida and New Jersey are still undecided.
For all the high drama in the Presidential race, the makeup of Congressional agriculture panels changed little.
Going down to defeat was Rep. Jay Dickey of Arkansas, a Republican who would have been a key player on the appropriations subcommittee that decides agriculture spending (and, increasingly, broader farm policy as well).
Two House Agriculture Committee members survived stiff challenges, while a third (Democratic Rep. David Minge of Minnesota) narrowly lost.
However, four senior committee members retired voluntarily, so subcommittee chairmanships will change in the new Congress.