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News stories tagged with "washington"

U.S. Rep. Bill Owens
U.S. Rep. Bill Owens

Owens seeks compromise on farm bill

This week the Senate passed a five-year, nearly $500 billion farm bill. About three-quarters of that pays for the food stamp program, which would be cut by $400 million a year. Direct farm subsidies are largely replaced by subsidies for crop insurance. And there are a barrelfull of other items from land conservation to support for young farmers.

This is pretty much where things stood a year ago. But House Speaker John Boehner refused to let his chamber's version of the farm bill come to the floor for a vote. Conservative Republicans believed the bill contained too much government spending.  Go to full article
Secretary Ray LaHood listens to lock leader Steve McCargar, Potsdam. Photo: David Sommerstein
Secretary Ray LaHood listens to lock leader Steve McCargar, Potsdam. Photo: David Sommerstein

Transportation chief says goodbye to Seaway

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's farewell tour swung through Massena yesterday. One of the few Republicans in President Obama's cabinet, LaHood announced he was stepping down last January.

Obama's nominee to replace LaHood, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, breezed through a Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday.

LaHood has overseen the St. Lawrence Seaway for four years. As David Sommerstein reports, he said the Seaway will always occupy "a niche" in the nation's infrastructure.  Go to full article
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). Photo: Mark Kurtz
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). Photo: Mark Kurtz

Gillibrand wants food stamps, milk price reform in Farm Bill

Congress is back to work on a new five year Farm Bill. The Senate passed one last year, but the House of Representatives couldn't agree on the size of cuts to the food stamp program and other issues.

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says preserving food stamps is "a moral issue." And she says there's a way to pay for them.  Go to full article
A tale of two dairy farmers. Mike Kiechle, Philadelphia, says expanding his herd is too much of a risk. Photo: David Sommerstein
A tale of two dairy farmers. Mike Kiechle, Philadelphia, says expanding his herd is too much of a risk. Photo: David Sommerstein

Will the Greek yogurt boom help dairy farmers?

You might have been surprised last summer to hear politicians walking around and talking about--yogurt. Governor Andrew Cuomo held a Yogurt Summit at the Capitol in Albany, where he said the explosion of the Greek yogurt industry in New York is a once-in-a-generation moment. "This is one of the best private sector market opportunities that Upstate New York has had in 30, 40 years," procliamed Cuomo. "I don't know when we get another one. I really, really don't. And that entrepreneurial spirit is when you see an opportunity, grab it."

New York has invested millions of dollars in tax breaks into new and expanding yogurt plants. Cuomo wants to ease environmental rules to encourage 200 cow dairy farms to become 300 cow dairy farms and make more milk.

Experts say New York farmers will have to boost milk production by 15 percent, or two billion pounds each year, to keep up with demand.

So does New York have a milk shortage? And are farmers stepping up it fill it?

The answers lie in cream cheese, Old McDonald, and something called the Chobani Paradox.  Go to full article
A sapbucket at Newton's Sugarbush. One of the bills US Rep. Owens is introducing would make it easier for producers to tape trees on some state and conservation lands in the Adirondacks. Photo: Todd Moe
A sapbucket at Newton's Sugarbush. One of the bills US Rep. Owens is introducing would make it easier for producers to tape trees on some state and conservation lands in the Adirondacks. Photo: Todd Moe

Owens gets ahead of curve on farm bill

Washington failed to pass a Farm Bill last year. Congressman Bill Owens says he's "cautiously optimistic" one will pass this year. But he's not sure exactly what will be in the massive $100 billion a year legislation that funds everything from farm programs to food stamps.

So the North Country Democrat is introducing three bills early that would help New York farmers.  Go to full article
Kirsten Gillibrand. Photo: Mark Kurtz
Kirsten Gillibrand. Photo: Mark Kurtz

Gillibrand: minimum wage should be even higher

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is making the case that New York's proposed minimum wage increase to $9 an hour is actually not enough. She is co-sponsoring a bill to raise the minimum wage nationwide to $10.10 an hour.  Go to full article
Border patrol vehicles await the bus in Canton. Photo: David Sommerstein
Border patrol vehicles await the bus in Canton. Photo: David Sommerstein

Sequester means fewer agents along Canadian border

The union representing border patrol agents says it's being unfairly targeted for spending cuts under the sequester, and that there will be less of a law enforcement presence along the North Country's border with Canada.  Go to full article
St. Regis Mohawk tribal government building in Akwesasne. Photo: David Sommerstein.
St. Regis Mohawk tribal government building in Akwesasne. Photo: David Sommerstein.

How the sequester could affect Mohawk health care

The effects of across the board federal spending cuts - known as the sequester - are still being sorted out. Mohawks in Akwesasne are bracing for cuts to health care and law enforcement.  Go to full article
McHugh speaking to reporters during his first visit to Fort Drum as Army Secretary. Photo: David Sommerstein
McHugh speaking to reporters during his first visit to Fort Drum as Army Secretary. Photo: David Sommerstein

Report: McHugh may step down from top Army post

A major newspaper covering the military is reporting John McHugh may step down as Secretary of the Army.  Go to full article
U.S. Rep. Bill Owens.
U.S. Rep. Bill Owens.

Owens: most people will feel pain of sequester

North Country Congressman Bill Owens says the impact of cuts at the federal prison in Ray Brook is on his mind. He says officials there will have some discretion as far as where to cut. "I'm counting on management in those circumstances," says Owens, "to make sure that they do their furloughing in such a way that they do manage this for the safety of the officers and obviously the prisoners."

Owens held a telephone press conference yesterday afternoon to discuss the impacts of the across-the-board federal cuts known as the sequester. The Democrat says the standoff in Washington may only change if the public feels some pain.  Go to full article

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