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2012 Elections Retain Status Quo; Dairy Security Act Loses Support

Nov 07, 2012

The outcome of the 2012 elections was remarkably close, but the end result was little change in the overall split partisan make-up of the White House and Congress. President Barack Obama won reelection, while the House remains under Republican control and the Democrats retained their majority in the U.S. Senate.

"We congratulate President Barack Obama on his reelection and look forward to continuing to work with his administration and with the re-elected and newly elected members of Congress," said Connie Tipton, IDFA president and CEO. "At the end of the day, there was consensus among voters that there needs to be bipartisan cooperation and that our economy needs to remain a high priority to get back on track."

With several races still undetermined, it appears that Republicans lost only a handful of seats in the House of Representatives and are assured of holding a strong majority for the next Session of Congress. Democrats ended up with a net gain of two seats in the Senate and will enjoy a 55-45 margin. Representative John Boehner (R-OH) is expected to remain as Speaker of the House, while Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) will keep his position as Senate Majority Leader.    

The House Agriculture Committee, however, will see significant changes next year as the Democratic committee leadership suffered several losses. Dairy policy could be affected due to the changes, because seven supporters of the Dairy Security Act will not return, yet nearly all who supported the Goodlatte-Scott alternative were reelected.

Although Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) was reelected, Representatives Joe Baca (D-CA), Leonard Boswell (D-IA), Larry Kissell (D-NC) and Bobby Schilling (R-IL) were defeated. Combined with the resignation of Representative Dennis Cardoza (D-CA) earlier this year, the primary defeat by Representative Tim Holden (D-PA) and the retirement of Representative Tim Johnson (R-IL), the Dairy Security Act has lost seven of the 29 votes in its favor. Every supporter of the Goodlatte-Scott amendment will return with the exception of Representative Jean Schmidt (R-OH) who lost her primary election.

"Ranking Member Peterson has been relying heavily on his fellow ‘blue dog’ Democrats to help him pass the controversial new program to limit milk production, but the blue dogs are a dying breed," said Jerry Slominski, IDFA senior vice president of legislative affairs and economic policy.

Other notable election results include California's rejection of Proposition 37, which would have required new labeling for food products containing genetically modified ingredients. See "California Rejects Labeling Measure for Genetically Engineered Foods."

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