Weekly Food & Agriculture Update 12.16

Monday, December 16th, 2019


December 16, 2019

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

Historic Week Expected in Washington– Many seemingly stalled priorities for Congress and the Administration may come to fruition this week, as policymakers in Washington juggle a full plate of issues before leaving for the holiday recess this Friday. Last week, lawmakers made major strides on the FY20 government spending bills, the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), House passage of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act and the National Defense Authorization Act. Meanwhile, the House Judiciary Committee debated and advanced two articles of impeachment against President Trump, which the House is expected to vote on this week. The Administration also announced a “Phase One” deal with China, and sent implementing language to Congress for the newly renegotiated and signed USMCA.

USMCA to be Considered by House– Last week, Speaker Pelosi and USTR Ambassador Lighthizer announced a deal on the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA). The new trade pact is expected to see a vote on the House floor on Wednesday. Both sides of the aisle have been touting USMCA as a win, and agricultural stakeholders have been praising the conclusion of negotiations. House Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee shared a fact sheet highlighting the negotiated changes to the pact. Over the weekend, a Mexican official and trade negotiator voiced concerns about a provision in the agreement that assigns up to five labor inspectors to monitor Mexico’s enforcement of new labor provisions. The House Ways and Means Committee has scheduled a markup of the USMCA bill on Tuesday. If passed by the House, the Senate will consider USMCA in January, according to Majority Leader McConnell.

Administration Reports Trade Deal with China– The Trump Administration announced a “Phase One” trade deal with China, cancelling a planned tariff hike on $160 billion of Chinese goods, which was set to begin December 15. While details of the agreement have not been released, US officials report that China has agreed to purchase $200 billion in US goods and services, over its 2017 total import value. China is expected to increase purchases of agricultural goods between $40 to $50 billion annually over the next two years. The announcement is long awaited news to agricultural producers and stakeholders, as many have been affected by the trade war between the two nations. The trade war has altered supply chains, disrupted financial markets, and prompted the administration to send billions of dollars of trade mitigation payments to US farmers. Click here to read our coverage of a White House briefing on the agreement.

The Week Ahead

Tuesday, December 17
  • The House Ways and Means Committee will consider the implementing bill for the USMCA.
  • The House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry will discuss, “Access to Conservation Programs by Historically Underserved Farmers and Ranchers.”
  • The Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a business meeting on the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility and Lands Legislation.
Thursday, December 19
  • The House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Climate Change will discuss, “Current Economic Effects of Climate Change and the Costs of Inaction” under the realms of economy & jobs, and energy & environment.

A Quick Look Back