Weekly Food & Agriculture Update 12.3

Monday, December 3rd, 2018


December 3, 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 and Senate will continue the lame duck session today. The late President George HW Bush will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda starting this evening. Members of Congress are expected to hold an arrival ceremony this afternoon. Following the news of the former president’s death, Congressional Republicans are considering adjustments to legislative calendar, including a two-week stopgap funding bill to avert a potential government shutdown. The bill was originally set to receive a vote on Friday.
  • Negotiators Reach Farm Bill Agreement- Last week, the “big four” Agriculture Committee leaders announced they have reached an agreement “in principle” on the 2018 Farm Bill. Before the bill can receive a vote on the floor, staff must finalize the legal language and the legislation must receive a score from the Congressional Budget Office. He was referring to a government spending bill that will see a vote by the end of this week. With the recent passing of former President George H.W. Bush, Congress may decide to adjust its legislative schedule to accommodate for the ceremonies honoring his life.
  • USMCA Signed at G20–  President Trump joined Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and outgoing Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to sign the USMCA on Friday in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The leaders signed the agreement against the backdrop of the G20 summit, an annual gathering of top political leaders from the world’s leading economies. The USMCA was announced two months ago, after more than a year of negotiations to modernize the former tri-lateral trade agreement, NAFTA. The trade deal includes additional dairy access for the U.S. and provisions for e-commerce and informational technology, among other compromises. The agreement must now be ratified by all three countries’ legislatures before it can take effect. Read the full text of the USMCA here.
  • China Trade Dispute– On Saturday, President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a temporary pause to the tit-for-tat trade war between two of the world’s largest economies. President Trump agreed to delay a tariff increase intended for $200 billion worth of goods. The tariffs were originally scheduled to rise from 10% to 25% on January 1st, but instead will remain stagnant for 90 days. In exchange, President Xi has agreed to purchase a “very substantial” amount of agricultural, energy, and industrial product from the U.S. China also agreed to designate fentanyl as a controlled substance, meaning that those who the sell the opioid to buyers in the U.S. would be subject to China’s maximum penalty under the law.

Nominations & Confirmations

  • Stephen Vaden was confirmed to be General Counsel of the Department of Agriculture.
  • Karen Kelly was confirmed to be Deputy Secretary of Commerce.

The Week Ahead

Wednesday, Dec 5

  • The House Committee on Energy and Commerce will hold a hearing on the 21st Century Transportation Fuels Act.

MTA In Action

We would like to pass along this invitation from MTA’s resident Californian, Sarah Hubbart who is hosting a fundraiser at Barrel (613 Penn Ave SE) on Monday, December 3 from 5:30 – 8 pm to benefit victims of Northern California’s Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive in the state’s history.
Proceeds will go to the North Valley Community Foundation’s Camp Fire Evacuation Relief Fund, which is directly helping Butte County families now and will be involved in long-term recovery efforts. This is one small way for us to come together and help.
Please RSVP through the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/572275339898954/ or directly to Sarah Hubbart if you can make it. Thank you for sharing this info with others who might be interested.

A Quick Look Back

Pertinent Timing Ticker

  • 64 days since farm bill expiration (Sep. 30, 2018).
  • 4 days until funding for USDA expires (Dec. 7, 2018).
  • 31 days until commencement of the 116th Congress (Jan. 3, 2019)