YouTube video

What happens when a levee breaks? The video above was taken recently near Hamburg, Iowa, where the Missouri River is busy flooding.

• Lots of attention this week to GOP freshman House members. Remember, this class is largely from rural-leaning districts, and they are Republicans who represent the party of budget cuts.

Rep. Tim Huelskamp, a Republican from western Kansas, has a simple message, according to the Washington Post. There is going to be less in the budget for farmers. The Post’s Philip Rucker writes

“Everybody needs to share,” Rep. Tim Huelskamp told a few dozen townspeople sitting patiently on the hard wooden benches of the Graham County Courthouse. “If you’re a farmer like me, you’re going to expect less. Something’s going to go away. The direct payments are going to go away.”

Politico has a story headlined, “Farm subsidies test GOP frosh.” The House Ag committee has 15 GOP freshmen, reports Marin Cogan:

But it’s an open question whether these freshmen will move to slash the sacred cow of farm subsidies — as several of the rookies themselves have received hundreds of thousands in subsidies over the years, including some on the Agriculture Committee, which will debate a farm bill in the coming year.

Meanwhile, David Rogers reports that in the House a “$17.25 billion agriculture and rural development measure, … has had to absorb a $2.67 billion reduction on top of what was an almost $3.4 billion cut in April from 2010 funding.” 

• A legislative audit in Virginia found that projects paid for with tobacco settlement money did little to boost jobs or raise pay. 

The Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission has issued 1,368 grants worth $756 million for projects ranging from hiking trails to Internet access to improvements at NASCAR track in Martinsville. To what end?

“The focus of the commission is on revitalization, and if you look back on the transcripts of the discussions for economic impact, there is usually precious little,’’ study leader Walt Smiley told members of JLARC at a meeting Monday on Capitol Square.

• The drought in Texas could pinch new oil and gas exploration, Bloomberg reports.

Exploration for gas in the Eagle Ford Shale area in South Texas could be curtailed because of a water shortage. Drilling companies use water in hydraulic fracturing, which loosens the shale, releasing oil and gas. But with water shortage, oil companies are searching for new supplies. 

• Chris Clayton at DTN reports that the Senate will take up ethanol today. He writes:

 All eyes will be counting votes on Sen. Tom Coburn’s amendment to eliminate the tax credit and the tariff on imported ethanol. I heard talk from a pro-ethanol person that it’s likely a 50-50 vote, but Coburn’s plan definitely won’t get 60. From an ethanol critic, I heard the amendment could get around 55 votes, which would then mean there is certainly more backers for ending support for ethanol than keeping it.

Supporters of ethanol are backing a plan by Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who introduced legislation, S.1185, the Ethanol Reform and Deficit Reduction Act.

• Good story here in the American School Board Journal about the success at the school district in Skidmore, Texas. It quotes the Yonder’s own Caitlin Howley. 

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