Weekly Food & Agriculture Update 10.18

Monday, October 18th, 2021


October 18, 2021

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

Big Picture Outlook

Trimming Down the Social Spending Bill

Democratic lawmakers and the White House continue efforts to trim items in President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” social spending bill, with Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) holding firm in opposition to the overall price tag. Even if all items within the package receive cuts, some programs would have to be written out completely to meet a lower spending level, which is currently expected to be between $1.9 and $2.3 trillion. Democrats on the House Agriculture Committee have appealed to party leaders to protect agriculture spending in the Build Back Better bill. The House package has more than $90 billion in agriculture provisions, including $28 billion in conservation spending that would be added. Representatives Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME) reiterated support for the provisions in a letter to Democrat leadership today. And, on Friday, 130 organizations wrote to support the $7.75 billion for agriculture research.


Challenges with the Infrastructure Bill

While the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed in the Senate more than two months ago, the House still faces challenges in securing enough votes to pass the package. Speaker Nancy Pelosi extended the vote to September 30 and then again to October 31 as progressives threatened to withhold their votes for the infrastructure bill if a reconciliation package wasn’t considered alongside it. House Republicans project that their aggressive whip operation and Democrats’ multiple delays of the infrastructure vote have shaved off dozens of Republican votes for a standalone bill to fund roads, bridges, and broadband. Many moderate Democrats in Washington as well as in state governments are increasingly wary of continued delays in considering—and passing—the infrastructure bill that serves as part of President Biden’s agenda.


Short-Term Debt Ceiling Remedy

The U.S. House of Representatives gave final approval last Tuesday to legislation that will temporarily raise the government’s borrowing limit to $28.9 trillion. The deadline for debt default has now been pushed to December. Democrats maintained party discipline to pass the $480 billion debt limit increase by a vote of 219-206. President Joe Biden is expected to sign the measure into law this week, when the Treasury Department has estimated it would no longer be able to pay the nation’s debts.


Secretary Vilsack to Meet with Counterparts from Mexico and Canada in Iowa

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will be in Iowa later this week to host bilateral meetings with Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development. Secretary Vilsack is also scheduled to participate in a panel discussion with the Canadian Agriculture Deputy Minister and Mexico’s secretary alongside the World Food Prize award ceremony on Thursday.

The Week Ahead 

Wednesday, October 20

  • 10:00 AM EST: House Small Business Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Regulations holds a hearing to discuss Global Supply Chains and Small Business Trade Challenges

To see a full list of House and Senate Committee business, visit here.

MTA In Action

MTA Welcomes Julie McClure to Staff – Michael Torrey Associates is pleased to welcome Julie McClure as a Director of Government Affairs, where she will provide strategic guidance to clients on a wide array of agriculture and food policy issues. Julie joins MTA from the Agronomy, Crop, and Soil Science Societies, where she was a science policy manager. While there, Julie managed a policy portfolio of food, agriculture, and natural resources research issues that included USDA, NSF, and DOE-Office of Science funding, workforce development, climate change, and biotechnology policy.

A Quick Look Back 

“EPA names Snyder agriculture adviser” The Fence Post

“Biden-Harris Administration Invests $272 Million to Improve Rural Water Infrastructure for 270,000 People Living in Rural Communities Across the Country” USDA

“Republicans offer 30×30 alternative” The Senate and Congressional Western Caucuses

“USDA Introduces New Insurance Policy for Farmers Who Sell Locally” USDA

“FDA guidance calls for voluntary salt reduction in food supply” The Hill

“USDA Announces Plan to Integrate Climate Adaptation Into its Missions and Programs” USDA

“USDA Announces More Than $146M Investment in Sustainable Agricultural Research” USDA

“USDA provides $100M for food supply chain financing” National Hog Farmer

“Food stamps just got boosted by a record 30% — here’s what it means for families” Yahoo! Finance

“Vilsack: Vaccine requirement won’t close FSA offices” The Fence Post

“Senate subcommittee holds hearing on western drought” The Fence Post

Contact the Team 

Feel free to contact Michael TorreyTara SmithDanielle NelsonCassandra KuballJames GlueckBarbara PattersonTrey ForsythPerry Harlow, or Brandon Barnett with any questions or comments.