If you’re watching the Conservative Political Action Conference on C-SPAN this week, you’ll see plenty of Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.
King will be moderating a panel Thursday with the title “Too Many American Wars? Should We Fight Anywhere and Can We Afford It?”
Panelists include Dr. Angelo Codevilla, Professor of International Relations at Boston University; Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark.; Dr. Ivan Eland, Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute and Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas,.
King also will address the whole conference Saturday morning.
“Each year, I draw energy from the gathering of conservatives at CPAC, and I look forward to doing the same this year,” said King. “Together we can be reminded of the principles that make this country great, and re-focus on stabilizing the pillars of American exceptionalism for our children and grandchildren.”
Nebraska state Sen. Beau McCoy has been selected as one of the “10 Conservatives under 40″ being recognized Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in a suburban resort just outside Washington, D.C.
The 2013 theme for the annual gathering of conservatives is “America’s Future: The Next Generation of Conservatives. New Challenges, Timeless Principles.”
The group of under-40′s was welcomed in a message from Al Cardenas, chairman of the American Conservative Union, which puts together the conference.
“On this important 40th anniversary of CPAC, you will see our agenda reflects our commitment to our conservative founders, but offers a renewed focus on young leaders – to ensure they have the tools they need to succeed,” Cardenas said.
Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., wants to know why U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack hasn’t asked for more flexibility from Congress to avoid furloughs of food safety inspectors.
Vilsack has made the case that ongoing budget cuts known as sequestration are likely to have a big impact on food safety inspections.
Just last week, he said in a speech to county officials that the cuts are simply too large to avoid furloughs, and when inspectors are pulled out of facilities, those plants must shut down.
“There is no way that I can do it without having to furlough inspectors, which means that that’s going to be quite disruptive to the food processing industry, poultry, beef, pork, processed eggs, the areas that we are engaged in,” Vilsack said in his speech.
In a letter to Vilsack on Monday, Johanns said USDA officials have asked for more than $100 million in flexibility in the approaching continuing resolution to fund government operations, but the agency has not sought additional food safey inspection funds.
“This lack of effort seems to suggest that there is no interest in resolving this issue,” Johanns wrote. “Instead, it seems that the threat of inspector furloughs is simply part of the administration’s broader messaging efforts to make the sequestration seem as painful as possible.”
The Twitter king of Capitol Hill will continue to reign.
A recent BuzzFeed story suggested that U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, was backing off his signature style that features many wide-ranging personal observations.
News that Grassley would be limiting himself more to policy matters on social media dismayed his many followers. But Grassley told reporters Wednesday that the story was off-base.
Chuck Grassley on Twitter
“I haven’t changed anything,” Grassley said. “I think they’re referring to some interview I gave to somebody called FeedStuff or BuzzStuff or something like that.”
He corrected himself, properly identifying the outlet as BuzzFeed and said they had asked him about changes in his tweets.
“Just wait a minute,” Grassley said. “I’ll say something very theatrical pretty soon and so they’ll be wrong.”
He said he’s putting out just as many tweets as ever before.
“Sometimes I tweet five times a day and sometimes I don’t tweet for five days,” Grassley said. “But you know, you don’t come in and have an interview for a half-hour and draw a conclusion, how much Grassley’s tweeting or not . . . so just ignore it.”
When a reporter suggested people would be relieved to hear the tweets will keep coming, Grassley said: “Do you mean people actually pay attention to me . . . you’re pandering (to) me.”
Chuck Hagel is settling into his new job running the Pentagon.
Here’s some video from his meeting with the joint chiefs of staff.
The World-Herald Washington Bureau was on site to cover his first address to his new employees this week.
Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., has a new communications director.
Larry Farnsworth is the former deputy press secretary to then-House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.
He will serve as Terry’s chief spokesman, doing outreach for the congressional office and issues related to the subcommittee that covers commerce, manufacturing and trade.
Terry is chairman of the subcommittee.
According to Terry’s office, Farnsworth graduated from California State University, Fresno.
He lives in Springfield, VA with his wife Karla. Together they have a five-year old son Jack and eight-month old twin girls Ellie and Emerie.
Catching up to some news from UNO last week.
Former Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., is the new “Politician-in-Residence” for the University of Nebraska at Omaha political science department.
He will be “team-teaching” an upper-level course each semester.
His next speech at the university will be April 4.
Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., reiterated Thursday during a radio interview on KFAB that she supports giving Chuck Hagel an up-or-down vote on his nomination as defense secretary.
But don’t assume that’s a commitment on how she’ll vote when the Senate takes up the nomination again Tuesday.
In a statement to The World-Herald, Fischer spokesman Joe Hack said Thursday afternoon that when the Senate returns Monday from recess Fischer “will meet with her colleagues to determine if their questions have been answered and decide if it is appropriate to end debate on the nomination.”
Fischer, who opposes the nomination, previously indicated that she would support giving Hagel an up-or-down vote, and that the only question was the timing of that vote.
She sided with most of her fellow Republicans last week in voting not to end debate on the nomination.
Hagel fell one vote shy of the 60-vote threshold needed to advance to a final vote, which then would require only a majority of senators’ votes.
Fischer said other senators still had questions about the nomination and suggested there was no reason to rush.
Among the special guests sitting with First Lady Michelle Obama tonight will be one Iowan, Lee Maxwell of Wilton.
President Obama is expected to highlight clean energy during his address so keep an ear out for a mention of wind turbines like the ones Maxwell is working on.
Here’s his bio provided by the White House:
Lee Maxwell (Wilton, IA)
Graduate, Kirkwood Community College Wind Technician Program
In 2012, Lee Maxwell graduated from Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He gained twenty six separate certifications in everything from reading blueprints to driving forklifts.
Today, he’s responsible for turning on the power for new wind turbines that are being built all around the country.
Kirkwood started its wind technician training program three years ago in partnership with Iowa-based Clipper Windpower, combining an industry-based curriculum and donated equipment to give students the hands-on experience they need to succeed.
The Onion has a funny spoof on the farm bill, describing Congress assembling the measure in an ancient, secretive ritual.
The satirical newspaper describes how the elder conjurer of law High Priest Rothkarin mixes ingredients into a cauldron:
“We summon the Dark Lords of Omnibus Food and Agricultural Legislation to bless this hallowed mixture of direct payment programs and corn-production incentives,” Rothkarin said as he stewed rotting mandrake roots and one strand of hair from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack into the acrid broth of the bill, H.R. 697. “When the vapors grow red, we shall add the recourse loans for high-moisture feed grains.”