Weekly Food & Agriculture Update- 10.10
Weekly Food & Agriculture Update
October 10, 2017
A quick look at what’s happening in Washington, D.C. that’s impacting food and agriculture. If you would like to subscribe to the receive the updates right to your inbox, please contact Kerry Lynch
Big Picture Outlook
- Schedule – The House is in session this week, while the Senate is out. Next week, it’s the reverse, but both return the week of Oct. 23 for a three-week work session. The House is expected to pass a disaster relief package this week, followed by the Senate next week.
- Budget – The House passed its budget last week, and the Senate held a two-day markup of its own, ultimately passing it out of committee. The full Senate is expected to take up and pass the budget next week. House Budget Chair Diane Black (R-TN-) said a conference committee likely wouldn’t be set up until November, however.
- Tax Reform – Passage of the budget resolutions bring the GOP steps closer to unlocking reconciliation to provide for tax reform.
- Trade – Round four of NAFTA negotiations begins Wednesday in Washington, D.C. – challenging market access issues pertinent to food and agriculture are expected to be discussed. Last week, U.S. and South Korean trade officials reached an agreement to proceed with renegotiation of their free trade agreement (referred to as “KORUS”). A large component of the KORUS talks will be automobiles, though U.S. agriculture will benefit from reductions in tariffs on items such as beef, pork, and wheat..
- Immigration – The House Judiciary Committee hearing on the AG Act and the Legal Workforce Act was delayed, but Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA-6) has indicated he still plans to bring the bill forward. The Administration also released a seven-page document outlining its “immigration principles and policies” on Sunday – first among them is “Border Wall,” but the document delves into “Unaccompanied Alien Children” as well, amid talks on addressing DACA.
Nominations & Confirmations
Senate Ag Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) said his committee will move quickly to vote on the nominations of Bill Northey and Greg Ibach once it returns from recess next week. He said he hopes the Senate can then proceed swiftly to confirm the nominees.
- Steve Censky and Ted McKinney were sworn in this morning at USDA as Deputy Secretary and Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, respectively.
- Last week, President Trump nominated Andrew Wheeler, former staff director of the Senate EPW Committee, to be Deputy Administrator at EPA.
- President Trump also nominated Kimberly Reed, formerly of the International Food Information Council (IFIC), to be First Vice President of the Export-Import Bank.
The Week Ahead
Tuesday, October 10
- The Finance Committee of the Cook County (Illinois) City Council is scheduled to vote to repeal its controversial “soda tax” today. If it passes (which it is expected to do), the full Council will vote tomorrow on its repeal.Wednesday, October 11
- 10 a.m. – House Ag hearing on the 2017 CFTC agenda
- 2 p.m. – House Ways & Means hearing on expanding U.S. trade in the Asia-Pacific region
- NAFTA negotiations begin Wednesday and continue through Sunday.
A Quick Look Back
- House Ag Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX-11) led a congressional delegation to Canada “communicate a sense of urgency” to conclude the negotiations. He and Secretary Perdue had both expressed frustration that talks weren’t moving quickly enough.
- House Ag held another farm bill listening session in Cobleskill, New York, yesterday, where it heard from numerous witnesses about the need for a fix for the dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP), research funding, and aid for young and beginning farmers and ranchers.
- Secretary Perdue announced new leadership at the USDA food safety mission.
- This week (Oct. 8 – Oct. 14) is National School Lunch Week, according to a proclamation issued by President Trump.
Pertinent Timing Ticker
- 34 legislative days (28 for House) until government funding expires and debt ceiling is reached (Dec. 8, 2017)
- 355 total days until the farm bill expires (Sep. 30, 2018)