A Timeline for Food Policy after the Election
Post-election, we are assessing what the election results will mean for federal food policy moving forward. Here are a few resources and issues to keep on your radar in the coming months. No matter our race, class or zip code, we all want a democratically elected, well functioning government who supports our ability to stay well, nourish ourselves, and keep our planet healthy. We will be tracking federal decisions and changes to ensure our ability to manifest these needs.
In an unprecedented and damaging breach of presidential norms, Trump has still not conceded the election to President-elect Biden, despite widespread consensus on the outcome and assurances from election officials that there is no evidence of fraud. Public pressure will continue to be essential to make sure Trump leaves office in a timely manner, and gives Biden the materials he needs to prepare his incoming administration.
Action: Ensure a smooth transition of power to maintain democracy and governmental function, and stop the undermining of legitimate election results (source: Election Defenders)
Call: Law firms who are engaged in post-election litigation to challenge legitimate votes and counting processes (look them up here)
Script: Hi, My name is XXXXX and I’m part of a national non-partisan community of Election Defenders committed to making sure every vote is counted. I’m calling you to tell [Law firm NAME HERE] to drop your case undermining democracy. [Use specifics in link below, depending on the law firm you're contacting!] This election saw a historic voter turnout. Do not diminish the 150,000,000 Americans who cast their ballots. Do not undermine the democratic process just to line your pockets with this baseless case. I am prepared to defend this election until Inauguration Day. We’re asking you now to stand on the side of democracy and the right side of history. Drop this case! Thank you, [Your Name]
Biden’s ability to move forward his agenda will depend largely on the balance of power in Congress; a republican Senate may block many of Biden’s intended policy priorities. Still, we can learn now about what Biden’s policy agenda looks like. His administration transition teams, which assign people to the task of understanding the function of each agency and helping the new administration transition smoothly, are available to the public here, including the team for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Speaking of the USDA, the agency has the ability to foment real change in the way it implements programs and policies in the next four years under new leadership. Candidates to lead the agency are being considered now; see this article for a list of current contenders.
Resources on Biden’s Food and Farm Policy Positions:
- In a year of Climate Reckoning, where does Biden stand on Climate and Agriculture?
- Biden courts Black Farmers to dent Trump’s lead among rural votes
- Biden review of USDA may have a climate mitigation perspective
- The Future of Farm Conservation Programs may hinge on the Election
Shifts in the House and Senate
Democrats remain the majority in the House but their lead has narrowed, and the Senate majority will depend on two run-off elections in Georgia. Notably, three of four leaders of the House and Senate agriculture committees lost their races this year (Petersen, D-MN, House ag chair) or retired (Conaway, R-TX, House ag minority leader, and Roberts, R-KS, Senate ag chair). A few other members of both committees did not retain their seats, and some members may transfer to other committees.
In the Northeast region, most of our first-term congresspeople are in New York State, with one in Massachusetts:
- MA-4, Jake Auchincloss (D)
- NY-2, Andrew Garbarino (R) is ahead but race has not been called
- NY-11, Nicole Malliotakis (R) flipped a seat by defeating incumbent Max Rose
- NY-15, Ritchie Torres (D)
- NY-16, Jamaal Bowman (D)
- NY-17, Mondaire Jones (D)
- NY-22, Claudia Tenney (R) is narrowly leading against incumbent Anthony Brindisi (D), House ag committee member
As a reminder, the composition and leadership of the agriculture committees are critical in shaping all the food and agriculture policy Congress passes in the next Congress, including the next Farm Bill, which is set to be reauthorized in 2023.
Action: Have a *new* representative in your district? Have a returning Senator or Congressperson who “gets it” on agricultural or food systems issues? Reach out to them and urge them to request an agriculture committee appointment or learn more about your issues. I’m not including a script for this one because it’s a little more complex, but please reach out to me at [email protected] for support with this!
Photo: Civil Eats