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Nebraska Senators prepare for new session of Congress

Posted: 01/04/13 08:16

U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns has been named to the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, as well as those dealing with agriculture, banking and veterans.
The Nebraska Republican announced his new committee assignments on Thursday. Besides the government-spending panel, Johanns will serve on the Senate agriculture, banking and veterans' affairs committees. In the process, Johanns gives up spots on the Indian Affairs Committee and Environment and Public Works Committee. Johanns says his goals as a senator are "reining in spending, seeing a reform-minded farm bill signed into law and providing our military and veterans with the services they need."

Senator Deb Fischer was officially sworn-in as a United States senator in the U.S. Capitol by Vice President Joseph Biden yesterday. Fischer was escorted by Nebraskaís senior Senator Mike Johanns and former Nebraska Senator David Karnes. The ceremony marked the official commencement of Fischerís six-year term, as well as the start of the 113th Congress. Fischer will be placed on the Armed Services Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Environment and Public Works, Small Business and Indian Affairs.

Senator Mike Johanns says Congress had to extend the current Farm Bill or risk reverting back to agriculture legislation approved in 1949. Johanns says a provision in federal law calls for national ag policy to revert to the old version if the Farm Bill is allowed to lapse. Johanns, a former Agriculture Secretary, says the USDA would have had a hard time dealing with that. Johanns expects the Senate to pattern any new legislation on the legislation that passed the Senate last year. Though the House Agriculture Committee approved a measure, it never made it to the full House for debate.