Weekly Food & Agriculture Update-11.13

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017   /  Tags: agriculture, Capitol Hill, D.C., MTA news


November 13, 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 and Senate are both in this week.  The House is expected to take up defense and flood insurance authorization, as well as tax reform legislation, while the Senate focuses on its own tax reform package.  Both chambers are scheduled to be in recess next week, but that could change for the Senate, depending on how on how much progress is made on tax reform this week.
  • Tax Reform – The House whip effort on its tax reform bill starts today, the bill goes to the Rules Committee on Wednesday, and a vote is expected Thursday.  House leadership appears to have the 218 votes needed for final passage, which will mean they kept their promise to pass tax reform before Thanksgiving.
    • The Senate released its bill (a day later than hoped) last week as well, and Senate Finance begins its markup of the legislation today.  Some reports suggest the full Senate may vote on tax reform the week after Thanksgiving.
    • Given the differences between the House and Senate legislation, Speaker Ryan continues to talk about a conference committee following Senate passage, rather than the House simply taking up and passing what the Senate produces.
  • Trade – President Trump is in Asia until Wednesday, completing the longest trip to the region by a U.S. president in decades.  While there, he touted his desire for bilateral trade agreements with countries in the Indo-Pacific region.  On Sunday, he said he would make an announcement regarding trade upon his return, but offered no detail.
    • Round 5 of NAFTA negotiations begins this Friday in Mexico City.  USDA is reportedly working on a “Plan B” if negotiations don’t produce a new deal, or if they produce a deal that negatively impacts agricultural market access.
  • Farm Bill – The House and Senate Ag Committees are still working on initial drafts of legislation, with the hopes of moving a bill in January or February of 2018.  This week, Secretary Perdue will be in New York for several listening sessions, where the farm bill is expected to come up.

 Nominations & Confirmations

Last week, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) wrote a letter to USTR Lighthizer, objecting to the Administration’s NAFTA proposal that would allow regional countermeasures on certain imports of Mexican produce, and simultaneously put a hold on the nomination of Gregg Doud to be Chief Agricultural Negotiator at USTR.


The Week Ahead

Monday, November 13

  • Senate Finance markup of tax reform legislation, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”
  • Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) seminar on “The 2018 Farm Bill: Ensuring U.S. Leadership in Agricultural Research and Development”

 Tuesday, November 14

  •  Senate HELP hearing on “Gene Editing Technology: Innovation and Impact”
  • Senate Commerce hearing on “Technology in Agriculture: Data-Driven Farming”
  • Senate Energy & Natural Resources hearing on “Hurricane Recovery Efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands”
  • House Natural Resources Committee hearing on “The Need for Transparent Financial Accountability in Territories’ Disaster Recovery Efforts”
    • The Governors of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands will testify.
  • House Energy & Commerce hearing on “Response and Recovery to Environmental Concerns from the 2017 Hurricane Season”

 Wednesday, November 15

  • Senate EPW hearing on “Promoting American Leadership in Reducing Air Emissions Through Innovation”
  • Senate Judiciary hearing on “The Consumer Welfare Standard in Antitrust: Outdated or a Harbor in a Sea of Doubt?”
  • House Judiciary markup of H.R. 170, the Protect and Grow American Jobs Act
    • The bill would tighten requirements for “exempt H-1B nonimmigrants.”
  • House Education & Workforce hearing on “Examining the Policies and Priorities of the U.S. Department of Labor”

Friday, November 17

  • Round 5 of NAFTA negotiations begins in Mexico City.

 A Quick Look Back

  •  The House Ways & Means Committee passed tax reform legislation, sending it to the House floor.
  • Former House Ag Chairman Bob Goodlatte announced he would not seek reelection in 2018.
  • USDA delayed the effective date of the organic animal welfare proposed rule by an additional six months, until May 14, 2018.
  • The Department of Commerce issued a final determination on biodiesel imports, saying Argentina and Indonesia are unfairly subsidizing their domestic producers.

 Pertinent Timing Ticker

  •  15 legislative days (12 for House), and 25 days overall, until government funding expires (Dec. 8, 2017)
  • 321 total days until the farm bill expires (Sep. 30, 2018)