Inside Politics

AGRICULTURE

USDA says it will close 259 sites to save $150M

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it will close 259 domestic offices, labs and other facilities as part of an effort to save $150 million per year in its $145 billion budget.

The plan, announced Monday, will affect the agency’s Washington headquarters and operations in 46 states.

Agriculture Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack said in a statement that his agency must “be better stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars.”

He said many of the offices being closed have few employees and are near other offices. It was not clear from the USDA announcement whether employees would be laid off or moved to other offices.

The USDA has an array of programs, including emergency aid for farms, grants for rural development and the program commonly known as food stamps.

CAMPAIGN

Gingrich cancels to avoid protesters

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich canceled an appearance at his New Hampshire campaign headquarters after protesters swarmed the entrance.

About 40 protesters showed up Monday evening carrying placards reading “Ron Paul” and “Occupy.” One played speeches by presidential candidate Ron Paul from a loud speaker.

Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond said the former House speaker’s private security detail decided to cancel the event because of security concerns regarding the entrance and exit to the building.

About 75 supporters and volunteers had crammed into the Manchester office to see Mr. Gingrich the night before the New Hampshire primary. The Gingrich campaign volunteered to transport them to his next event Monday night, set at a bar in Concord, N.H., to watch a college football game. 

CAMPAIGN

GOP candidates wade into food stamp debate

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