Weekly Food & Agriculture Update-12.11

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017   /  Tags: agriculture, Capitol Hill, D.C., food, MTA news


December 11, 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 – Both the House and Senate are in session this week.  Leaders will continue to negotiate over appropriations and tax reform, and President Trump will give a “closing” speech on Wednesday to make the final case for tax reform legislation.
    • The special Senate election in Alabama between Roy Moore and Doug Jones is tomorrow.
  • Appropriations – Last Friday, the President signed the CR continuing government funding until Friday, Dec. 22 (the last week day before Christmas).  Parties are still divided over defense and domestic spending levels, a pay-for to re-authorize the children’s health insurance program (CHIP), and extending Obamacare payments to insurers.   If the tax reform bill stalls, the CR could be used as leverage as well.  Next week could be tense.
  • Tax Reform – Congressional leadership announced conferees last week that will hammer out the differences between House and Senate tax reform legislation.  Although Leader McCarthy said the House would not vote on a conference report this week, the conference committee’s first public hearing is this Wednesday, and the goal is reportedly to get a conference report done by Friday.  It then must pass by a simple majority in each chamber – Republican leadership is aiming to get the bill to the President’s desk by Wednesday, Dec. 20.
    • Key issues before the conference committee include the estate tax, corporate income tax rates, the top individual income tax rate, and the alternative minimum tax (AMT) for individuals and corporations.
  • Welfare Reform – The Administration will reportedly issue an Executive Order in the relative near future (likely Jan. 2018) that would order a top-to-bottom review of welfare programs, and the House reportedly intends to make welfare reform a priority in 2018.
  • Trade – The World Trade Organization (WTO) 11th ministerial conference began yesterday in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and USTR Lighthizer will speak at today’s session.  Also, negotiators from the U.S., Mexico and Canada are having discussions in Washington this week in preparation for the next round of NAFTA negotiations, which are set to take place from Jan. 23-28.

Nominations & Confirmations
• Senate Ag will vote this evening on the nomination of Stephen Vaden to be USDA General Counsel.
• Last week, the full Senate confirmed Glen Smith by voice vote to be a Board Member of the Farm Credit Administration.

The Week Ahead 

Monday, Dec. 11

  • Senate Ag business meeting to vote on the nomination of Stephen Vaden to be USDA General Counsel

Tuesday, Dec. 12

  • House Energy & Commerce hearing on the “Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for Motor Vehicles”
  • Senate ENR business meeting to consider the nomination of Timothy Petty to be Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science
  • Senate ENR hearing on the permitting processes at DOI and FERC for energy and resource infrastructure projects

Wednesday, Dec. 13

  • House-Senate Conference Committee meeting on H.R. 1, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (the tax reform legislation)
  • Senate Ag hearing on “Safeguarding American Agriculture in a Globalized World”
  • House Ways & Means hearing on “The Taxpayer Experience with the Internal Revenue Service” 
  • Senate EPW business meeting to consider the nomination of R.D. James to be Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works

A Quick Look Back
• World Trade Organization’s ministerial conference opens in Buenos Aires
• USDA announces SNAP flexibilities for states

Pertinent Timing Ticker 

  • 10 week days until government funding expires on Dec. 22
  • 293 total days until the farm bill expires (Sep. 30, 2018)