Critics call into question the Department of Agriculture’s decision-making process that has huge implications for struggling farmers, food stamp recipients and workers in dangerous meatpacking jobs, among other aspects of America’s food system. “They operate much more on anecdote and ideology than facts and data,” said Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine).
Politico: Trump’s Ag Dept. Seeks To Cut Programs Without Knowing How Many People Get Hurt
In a rare bipartisan move last June, Republicans and Democrats teamed up to scuttle an Agriculture Department proposal that would have shuttered job training centers for at-risk youth across the country — an idea that blindsided lawmakers and seemed to lack much explanation or underlying data. Rep. Dan Newhouse blasted Secretary Sonny Perdue’s plan, which he said would close some of the highest-performing facilities in the popular program, contrary to USDA’s claims. “It appears the administration’s rollout of this proposal was done carelessly — and without the data or the statistics to point to any rhyme or reason as to how the decisions were made,” the Washington Republican said at a committee hearing. (McCrimmon, 2/3)
In other news from the administration —
The Wall Street Journal: Trump Strengthens Efforts Against Human Trafficking, Amid Criticism From Victims’ Advocates
President Trump on Friday signed an executive order aimed at combating human trafficking and online exploitation, the White House said. The order establishes a new position on the White House Domestic Policy Council focused on combating human trafficking. That official will coordinate with the National Security Council and the office of Ivanka Trump, a senior White House adviser and the president’s daughter. The White House doesn’t yet have a candidate for the job, a senior administration official said. (Ballhaus, 1/31)
Kaiser Health News: As VA Tests Keto Diet To Help Diabetic Patients, Skeptics Raise Red Flags
A partnership between the Department of Veterans Affairs and Silicon Valley startup Virta Health Corp. is focusing attention on the company’s claim that it provides treatment “clinically-proven to safely and sustainably reverse type 2 diabetes” without medication or surgery. The assertion is at the heart of an ongoing debate about the keto diet’s effect on diabetes. Some diabetes experts are skeptical of Virta’s promise and are expressing concerns that the company’s partnership with the federal government is giving the diet too much credence. (Craven, 2/3)
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