President-elect Donald Trump has selected Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to be the next Attorney General and Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS) to be the new director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Sessions was a key adviser throughout the campaign especially on immigration, national security and vice president. He was one of Trump’s earliest and strongest Congressional supporters. Sessions has been a hardliner on immigration, opposing nearly every immigration bill that has come before the Senate during the past two decades. He has worked with Democrats on criminal justice reform.
The Trump transition team is expected this week to begin naming those individuals who will serve on transition teams for USDA, U.S. Trade Representative and other agencies. Those serving on the transition teams and in the Trump administration will be required to terminate their lobbying registrations and not lobby the government for five years after leaving the administration.
Mike Torrey who had been leading the Trump USDA transition has resigned because of the new policy.
Republicans re-elect Ryan Speaker; Democrats postpone leadership decisions
The House Republican leadership in the 105th Congress will remain the same with Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI)) unanimously re-elected by the House Republican Caucus to serve as Speaker. The other leaders re-elected were Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Majority Leader; Steve Scalise (R-LA); Majority Whip; and Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA), Republican Conference Chair.
With the continuing fallout from the election and growing frustration of House Democrats, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had to postpone the Democratic leadership elections until Nov. 30, and now faces a challenge from Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH). This is to give the House Democrats time to determine why they failed to win more seats in the House and what direction they need to move in the future.
Democrats had expected to pick-up 10 to 20 seats, but only gained six. This is the first time that Pelosi has faced a challenge since 2010. In announcing his challenge to Pelosi, Ryan says, “Under our current leadership, Democrats have been reduced to our smallest congressional minority since 1929. This should indicate to all of us that keeping our leadership team completely unchanged will simply lead to more disappointment in future elections.”
McConnell elected Senate Majority Leader; Schumer elected Minority Leader
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will remain as Majority Leader along with Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) as Majority Whip. The Senate Democrats will now be led by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who was elected Minority Leader by the Senate Democratic Caucus. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) will continue as Minority Whip.
Ag committee leadership remains the same for 105th Congress
The leadership of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees will be the same in the new Congress. Congressman Mike Conaway (R-TX) will continue as Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee and Congressman Collin Peterson (D-MN), Ranking Member. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) will continue as Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) as Ranking Member.
Thanksgiving meal costs less than $5 per person
This year’s Thanksgiving Day dinner for 10 will cost $49.87, down 24 cents from last year’s cost of $50.11, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 31st annual price survey. AFBF says, “We have seen farm prices for many foods — including turkeys — fall from the higher levels of recent years. This translates into lower retail prices for a number of items as we prepare for Thanksgiving and confirms that U.S. consumers benefit from an abundant, high-quality and affordable food supply.”
The survey shopping list includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, vegetable tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, coffee and milk in quantities to serve a family of 10.