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The congressman from the nation’s most rural district will be the next chair of the House Appropriations Committee. 

Rep. Hal Rogers, a Republican from deep Eastern Kentucky, was tapped late Tuesday to head this powerful committee. Rogers’ district is 99% rural in terms of land and 79% of the people who live there reside in rural communities.

Over the years, Rogers has been adept at garnering federal funding for projects in his mountain district. (This fiscal year, Rogers ranked 10th out of 435 representatives by directing $93.4 million in earmarks to his district, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.) He’s made special efforts to extend proper wastewater treatment in his district and open drug treatment centers in a region that has been ravaged by prescription drug abuse.

• Hooper, Nebraska, was being bypassed. The road running from Omaha to Norfolk was set to go around the town, which meant…well, everyone here knows what that means. 

Hooper, population 827, has had a hard time hanging on to its young, but not its pride. The town “refused to be bypassed,” according to a story in the New York Times.

Hooper raised $18,000 to erect a sign on the highway, marking the town. Not just any old kind of sign, however, but a strong, stately monument, see it above. And read the story.

• The food safety bill is stalled in the House, snagged by the Constitution.

 It passed the Senate earlier this week by overwhelming margins. The House was going to pass that version and be done with it, but the Senate bill contained tax provisions that should have originated in the House, according to the Constitution.

Now the House has to figure out a way to fix the problem as the days in this session dwindle. The Post reports this morning that the bill could be revived by adding the legislation to a larger spending bill. 

• Today the Departments of Justice and Agriculture are holding a hearing on markets and margins in the grocery business. 

For the past year, the government has been investigating the growing concentration of power in the food business — from dairy to beef cattle to chicken processing. In all these areas, and in groceries, there are fewer firms standing between those who grow the food and those who consume it.

DTN has a good piece today explaining what worries some about the increasing concentration in the business of food. 

• The Washington Post reviews the arguments over pay-as-you-go Internet pricing.

The Federal Communications Commission is proposing that Internet providers be allowed to charge by the amount of bandwidth used. 

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