Weekly Food & Agriculture Update 6.24

Monday, June 24th, 2019


June 24, 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

  • USMCA Update- The USMCA trade agreement continues to be top of mind on Capitol Hill. Both the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees held hearings on the state of US Trade, with the agreement being a frequent topic of discussion. From both hearings, it is evident that USMCA has benefits over NAFTA, including in agriculture provisions, but Democrats still have serious concerns regarding enforceability and the provisions relating to labor, the environment and pharmaceuticals. Even with their concerns, many Democrats indicate that they want to get to ‘yes’, but are insisting on having adequate time to work on the agreement. Last week, Mexico was the first of the three nations to ratify the agreement through a 114-4 vote. The White House, numerous governors and state legislators are urging expedient ratification of USMCA, but with only 15 days left with both chambers in session before the August recess, it seems unlikely passage will happen before the fall. Rep. Blumenauer (D-OR), a member of the Democratic working group tasked with working on the agreement with Ambassador Lighthizer, recently reiterated that sentiment, saying he believes“it’s very unlikely that something is going to happen before the August recess”. This week, the labor portion of the agreement will be debated front and center as House Ways and Means holds a hearing on Mexico’s labor reform process.
  • Presidential Candidates Share Agriculture Platforms- With the first Democratic Primary debates this week, the 2020 presidential candidate’s platforms will be widely watched and analyzed. Currently, there are more than 20 contenders for the Democratic nomination, with familiar names such as former Vice-President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), as well as other experienced politicians like Sens. Klobuchar (D-MN), Booker (D-NJ) and Gillibrand (D-NY) and a handful of newcomers. At this point, more than five candidates have a food or agriculture platform posted on their websites. These candidates are former Rep. John Delaney (D-MD)Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-M), and author-lecturer Marianne Williamson. Several candidates are focused on climate change and consolidation in the agriculture industry as top issues. As candidates continue to release their policy proposals, agriculture may become a more prevalent topic for many of them, especially with upcoming caucuses and primaries in farm states like Iowa. For more information on the policy platforms of the 2020 Democratic Presidential Contenders, click here.
    The first Democratic debate will take place over two nights: Wednesday, June 26 and Thursday, June 27 in Miami, Florida. Ten candidates will be selected at random to appear each night. The second debate will take place in Detroit on July 30 and 31.

Nominations & Confirmations

  • There were no nominations or confirmations relating to agriculture or food this week.

The Week Ahead

Tuesday, June 25
  • The Senate Ag Committee will hold a hearing on “The State of the Derivatives Market and Perspectives for CFTC Reauthorization”.
  • The House Ag Committee will hold a hearing on “Managing for Soil Health: Securing the Conservation and Economic Benefits of Healthy Soils”.
  • House Ways and Means will hold a hearing on “Mexico’s Labor Reform: Opportunities and Challenges for an Improved NAFTA”.
Wednesday, June 26
  • The House Ag Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy and Credit will hold a hearing on “Brexit and Other International Developments Affecting U.S. Derivatives Markets”.

A Quick Look Back