Weekly Food & Agriculture Update 9.17

Monday, September 17th, 2018


September 17, 2018

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 Marissa Dake

Big Picture Outlook

  • Schedule- The House will not convene this week, however the Senate will remain in session.
  • Lab-Grown Meat Included in Appropriations Considerations- House and Senate appropriators met Thursday over the four-bill “minibus” spending package that includes funds for USDA-FDA. One of the “few outstanding issues to work through” is deciding which agency will regulate cell-grown meat (also called lab-grown meat) said Senate Agriculture-FDA Subcommittee Chairman Hoeven (R-ND). The two agencies announced last week that they will host a joint public meeting on October 23 and 24 to address concerns about the new product.
  • NAFTA Negotiations Resume with Canadians-  Canadian officials are back in DC this week to resume negotiations with the U.S. and Mexico. The deadline is approaching for a signed trilateral trade deal before the new Mexican administration takes office at the end of this month. U.S. negotiators are asking for major concessions with Canada’s biggest bargaining chip: dairy. This includes America’s access to Canada’s dairy market, Canada’s dairy supply management system, and Class 7 milk.
  • Farm Bill Update-  House and Senate Ag leaders, Senators Roberts and Stabenow and Reps. Conaway and Peterson met last Wednesday to discuss the Farm Bill as the September 30th deadline quickly approaches. Roberts said the meeting’s objective was to determine budget numbers for each title of the bill. “I have a feeling that next week might be the final time that we have to reach some kind of agreement,” Roberts said. If the bill is not completed by September 30, the current bill will expire and a temporary extension of the current policy could occur.
  • Senate Ag Holds Trade Hearing- USTR Chief Agricultural Negotiator Gregg Doud, USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney, and USDA Chief Economist Dr. Robert Johansson testified before the Senate Agriculture Committee on Thursday to discuss the myriad of trade activities ongoing in the administration. Senators brought questions on NAFTA negotiations, the recently announced Trade Mitigation Programs, and efforts to expand access into new foreign markets. Dr. Johansson shared a newly released white paper explaining the methodology behind USDA’s trade mitigation programs. The hearing can be viewed here.

Nominations & Confirmations

  • Charles Rettig to be a Commissioner of Internal Revenue at the Department of the Treasury.

The Week Ahead

Tuesday, September 12
  • The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard will hold a hearing to examine conflicts over ocean resources.

A Quick Look Back

Pertinent Timing Ticker

  • 13 days until the farm bill expires (Sep. 30, 2018).
  • 13 days until government funding expires (Sep. 30, 2018).
  • 50 days until midterm elections (Nov. 6, 2018).