Weekly Food & Agriculture Update 12.14

Monday, December 14th, 2020


December 14, 2020

Programming Note: The MTA Newsletter will break for the Holidays and will be back in your mailbox on January 4. Have a wonderful holiday!

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

Big Picture Outlook

Bipartisan Lawmakers Release Details on COVID-19 Relief Package- Details on the $908 billion COVID-19 relief package written by the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus are available. The bill would provide $180 billion in unemployment insurance, $288 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), $16 billion for coronavirus testing and vaccine development and distribution, and a business liability protection provision. Thirteen billion dollars would be provided to address COVID-related impacts on farmers, ranchers, growers, and rural communities. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12) has told reporters she believes Congress is close to reaching a deal on relief funding. A government funding deadline of December 11 has been pushed back one week to December 18 through the passage of a second Continuing Resolution to allow additional time for discussions on appropriations and a relief package.

Tom Vilsack Tapped to Lead USDA- Tom Vilsack, the former Obama administration Agriculture Secretary, has been tapped to lead the department again under Biden. As an individual with previous experience running the department, President-elect Joe Biden believes he can immediately tackle the hunger and farm crises that have become more prevalent during the pandemic. Vilsack will likely face an easy path to confirmation in the Senate, with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) expressing he would be ok with another four years working with him.

Congressional Budget Office Released Reducing Federal Deficit Options Report- The CBO released the latest volume of options to increase federal revenues and decrease federal spending. Agricultural suggestions include eliminating Title I Agriculture Programs, limiting enrollment in USDA conservation programs, and reducing subsidies in the Crop Insurance Program.

Senate Ag Chairman Pat Robert’s Final Senate Speech- Senate Ag Chairman Pat Roberts delivered his final speech on the Senate floor this week, reflecting on his time in office. Sen. Robert’s time in Congress began in 1981 and will end in 2021. A central theme of his speech was a hope for a return of bipartisanship in the Senate. He touched upon a history of battles over legislation, committee chairmanships, and a lifetime of Congressional work.

The Week Ahead 

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

House Democrats released the schedule for the 2021 calendar year of the 117th Congress. That calendar can be found here.

MTA In Action

Departing MTA Intern Shares Final Reflection- Last week, Team Torrey bade farewell to our intern, Dexton Lake. Dexton joined MTA in the final semester of his Bachelor’s program at Utah State University and assisted staff with a variety of client support, research, and communications projects. Thank you, Dexton, for your invaluable contributions to our firm, and congratulations on the completion of your Bachelor’s degree! Dexton will begin his Masters of Agribusiness at Utah State University. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors. Click here to read Dexton’s intern reflection.

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.