Weekly Food & Agriculture Update 1.25

Monday, January 25th, 2021


January 25, 2020

  • Big Picture Outlook
  • The Week Ahead
  • A Quick Look Back
  • Contact the Team

Big Picture Outlook

President Biden Inaugurated as 46th U.S. President- On January 20, 2021, President Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris were sworn into office in front of the U.S. Capitol Building. Biden’s Inaugural speech hit on points related to the COVID-19 pandemic, economic relief, and climate change, among others.

President Biden Begins Presidency with Slew of Executive Orders- The first five days of the new Biden administration have seen more than 25 Executive Orders (E.O.s) and Presidential Memos signed so far. Many of the E.O.s reverse Trump administration actions such as freezing last-minute regulations, ending the so-called “Muslim travel ban,” rejoining the Paris Climate Accord and World Health Organization, ending the Keystone XL pipeline, counting non-citizens in the U.S. census, defending the “Dreamers” program, stopping border wall construction, and changing ICE enforcement priorities. Others include strengthening workplace discrimination protections, a “100-day masking challenge,” and restructuring federal government COVID-19 pandemic coordination. One E.O. relating to agriculture increases the amount of food stamp benefits and calls for enhancing Pandemic-EBT. Many more are likely to come in the following days.

Future COVID-19 Relief Bill Faces Cost Uncertainty- President Biden released details of his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill and immediately began receiving pushback about the sizeable price tag. This bill includes additional direct payments, continued unemployment boosts, an increased national minimum wage, and $350 billion in state and local aid.

President Biden’s Cabinet Continues Slow Confirmation- At a historically slow pace, President Biden’s Cabinet members are beginning to receive Senate confirmations. So far, there are only two confirmed members, with a third expected today. Three other members have received committee confirmations, but the remaining eleven have not begun the process. The Agriculture Secretary pick, Tom Vilsack, is amongst those 11, with Kevin Shea as the acting secretary until Vilsack’s confirmation.

Impeachment Trial Delayed until February 9- The delay in Senate action on the Articles of Impeachment was a bipartisan agreement that will allow Democrats time to confirm more of President Biden’s Cabinet while giving Trump time to prepare his defense.

Senate Control Remains with Republicans until Organizing Resolution- Senate leaders need an organizing resolution to cement the rules of power for the current 50-50 party split in the chamber. There has been difficulty in finalizing these rules, without which there can be no committee placements or actions in the Senate Ag Committee, where the previous Chair retired. Until there is a finished resolution, Republicans will chair committees and direct the Senate floor. Unrelated to the organizing resolutions, the House also has yet to release full committee rosters, making legislative action difficult.

Vilsack to Appear at One of the First Events as the Agriculture Secretary Nominee- On Thursday, January 28, Tom Vilsack will speak at a biosecurity infectious disease symposium hosted by the Coalition for Epi Response, Engagement, and Science (CERES) and Colorado State University. The event will explore parallels between the COVID-19 pandemic and agricultural infectious disease outbreaks, and much more. To register, please use this link: https://www.research.colostate.edu/ceres-biosecurity-infectious-disease-symposium/.

The Week Ahead 

Tuesday, January 26
  • 10:00 am EST: Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will hold a hearing to consider the nomination of Antony Blinken to be Secretary of State.
  • 10:00 am EST: Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold a hearing to consider the nomination of Gina Raimondo to be Secretary of Commerce
  • 11:00 am EST: Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs will hold a hearing to consider the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas to be Secretary of Homeland Security
Wednesday, January 27
  • 10:00 am EST: Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will hold a hearing to examine the nomination of Jennifer Granholm to be Secretary of Energy
  • 10:00 am EST: Senate Committee Foreign Relations will hold a hearing to examine the nomination of Linda Thomas-Greenfield to be the Representative of the U.S. to the United Nations
Thursday, January 28
  • 10:00 am EST: Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs will hold a hearing to examine the nomination of Marcia Fudge to be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
To see a full list of House and Senate Committee business, visit here.

A Quick Look Back 

Contact the Team 

Feel free to contact Michael TorreyTara SmithCassandra KuballJessica KuneyBarbara PattersonPerry Harlow, or Brandon Barnett with any questions or comments.