Weekly Food & Agriculture Update 2.8

Monday, February 8th, 2021


February 8, 2020

Programming Note: Our next publication of this newsletter will be Monday, February 22.

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

Big Picture Outlook

Senate Democrats Progressed Party-Line COVID-19 Relief Package- Senate Democrats plowed ahead and passed a party-line budget resolution that will become the vehicle for the next COVID-19 relief package with a 51-50 vote split where Vice President Harris broke the tie. Completed in the early hours of February 5, this resolution sets in motion a process called budget reconciliation that will allow President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill to clear the Senate with only Democratic votes. The “vote-a-rama” that preceded a final vote on the resolution included hundreds of amendments filed with more than 30 receiving votes, and most unsuccessful. The House completed its part in the process on February 5 to adopt a final budget measure. The proposed Biden COVID-19 relief bill includes additional direct payments, continued unemployment boosts, $350 billion in state and local aid, and more.

Democrats Officially Hold Senate Majority- Democrats officially have the majority in the Senate after both party leaders agreed on an organizing resolution that delineates how the power-sharing will work for governing the upper chamber with a 50-50 split between the parties. This resolution makes Sen. Stabenow (D-MI) the Senate Agriculture Committee Chair and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) the Senate Majority Leader. The full Senate Agriculture Committee lineup was also released, with five members newly added: Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Roger Marshall (R-KS), and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL). Senator Casey (D-PA) is no longer on the Committee.

The list of House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee Ranking Members is also now available.

Impeachment Trial to Begin on February 9- Starting on Tuesday, February 9, the Senate will begin former President Trump’s second impeachment trial based on the charge of ‘incitement of insurrection’ over the U.S. Capitol siege.

Agriculture Secretary Nominee Tom Vilsack Awaits Full Senate Confirmation- Agriculture Secretary Nominee Tom Vilsack’s confirmation hearing in the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee occurred at 10:30 AM ET on February 2. He will likely have a swift full Senate confirmation and has already received a unanimous Senate Agriculture Committee vote of approval. Out of the gate, his priorities will be the COVID-19 response, hunger relief, social justice, and climate change. He emphasized the importance of biofuels as the Biden administration focuses heavily on climate change.

EPA Administrator Nominee Michael Regan Awaits Senate Committee Vote- EPA Administrator Nominee Michael Regan’s confirmation hearing in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee occurred on Wednesday, February 3 at 2:00 PM ET. He received bipartisan support while answering questions on biofuels, pesticides, regulations, climate actions, and more. Like Vilsack, Regan likely won’t have any difficulty receiving full Senate confirmation. He has been serving as the Secretary of North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality.

The Week Ahead 

Tuesday, February 9
  • 9:15 AM EST: Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs will hold a hearing to examine the nomination of Neera Tanden to be Director of the Office of Management and Budget
Thursday, February 11
  • 10:00 AM EST: Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions will hold a business meeting to consider the nominations of Miguel Cardona to be Secretary of Education and Martin Walsh to be Secretary of Labor.
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 PattersonTrey ForsythPerry Harlow, or Brandon Barnett with any questions or comments.