NDFB Legislature underway, Congress starts tomorrow

Created: 1/04/11 (Tue) | Topic: Issues

The North Dakota Legislature is underway today. The 112th Congress debuts tomorrow. While North Dakota legislators will undoubtedly debate road repair and flood control, Congress has more than 90 new members of the House and a dozen freshman senators.

Mark Maslyn, American Farm Bureau Federation executive director of public policy, said with Republicans controlling the House and Democrats in charge of the Senate, many wonder if anything will get done.

“I do think that one of the areas there will be possible agreement on is trade,” Maslyn said. “Certainly the president has spoken highly of the Korea free trade agreement. They’ve certainly got some people in the House leadership in the Ways and Means Committee and then over in the Senate with Senator Baucus, that are strong free trade people. We’re hopeful that it will spill over into the areas of the Colombia and Panama free trade agreements as well.”

Maslyn expects the House to devote a lot of time to hearings on new regulatory rules, particularly in the area of clean air, water and climate change.

“There’s a great deal of activity in the regulatory arena, particularly in the EPA and there will be good pressure to have Congress intervene in several of those areas,” Maslyn said. “It is a bipartisan Congress, so any legislation that tries to overturn a rule will face some severe hurdles and of course you’ve got to have the president’s signature on that so I think perhaps a more productive way could be through oversight and just general pushback from the House and the Senate.”

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