Weekly Food and Agriculture Update – 1.3

January 3, 2022


  • Big Picture Outlook
  • Thoughts from Team Torrey
  • The Week Ahead
  • A Quick Look Back

Big Picture Outlook

Debt Ceiling

Democrats cleared legislation on Dec. 15 to raise the statutory debt limit by $2.5 trillion, an amount intended to give the Treasury Department enough borrowing room to make it past the midterm elections and into 2023. The House voted 221-209 to send the measure to President Joe Biden. The vote came shortly after midnight after the Senate voted to send the measure to the House. The votes marked a tidy conclusion to the debt limit drama after months of partisan fighting and uncertainty that rattled financial markets.

“Build Back Better” Budget Reconciliation Package

The Senate returns this week with President Biden’s $1.7 trillion social spending and climate package facing an uncertain path forward after Sen. Joe Manchin threw the effort into chaos last month. Democrats have vowed to return to negotiations following Manchin’s public proclamation that he would oppose the reconciliation package as currently constructed. In late December, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced plans to move forward with a vote on a package this month.. That effort may serve as the catalyst for renewed compromise and trimming of the package.  Additionally, this week’s one-year anniversary of the January 6 protest that breached the Capitol will serve as a hook for discussion of federal voting rights legislation as well as the filibuster and Senate rules that could impact consideration of key parts of the Biden’s legislative agenda in the months ahead.

Farm Bill

The top Republican on the House Agriculture Committee, Pennsylvania Rep. Glenn Thompson, says Congress needs to do more to address supply chain resiliency and to review the impact of the 2018 farm bill. Thompson said it was important for the committee to bring in Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack to review farm bill programs. House Ag Committee Chair David Scott plans to have farm bill hearings this year, and Thompson confirmed the lawmakers are working on the schedule. “We need to hear from USDA and we have to hear from key stakeholders around the country, farmers, ranchers, producers, processors,” Thompson said. Other issues Thompson says he wants to focus on include forest management as well as the Biden administration’s regulation of pesticides and its plan to rewrite the “waters of the U.S.” rule. EPA is targeting February for its proposal of a new Clean Water Rule.


With the continuing resolution expiring on February 18, Congress will need to work to find agreement on a framework on overall spending levels in the weeks ahead. And, the White House is scheduled to release the FY 2023 budget proposal in early February, but that process is expected to be delayed.

The Week Ahead

Wednesday, January 5

  • 10:00 AM EST: Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions holds a business hearing to discuss the Nomination of Robert Califf to be Commissioner of Food and Drugs, Food and Drug Administration, Department of Health and Human Services

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

A Quick Look Back

“The USDA’s New Labeling for Genetically Modified Foods Goes into Effect Jan. 1. Here’s What You Need to Know.” The Washington Post

“Trends in U.S. Irrigated Agriculture: Increasing Resilience Under Water Supply Scarcity” USDA ERS

“How High Can Farmland Prices Go?” Ag Web

“GAO Highlights Flaws in Aid Payments for Farmers Hit by Tariffs” Government Accountability Office

“Grassley To Garland: Investigation Needed In The Fertilizer Industry” Chuck Grassley

“U.S. Agricultural Exports in Fiscal Year 2022 Forecast at Record $175.5 Billion; Imports at $165.0 Billion” USDA ERS

“EPA Urged to Delay Herbicide Registration Changes” Farm Progress

“Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 is Passed by U.S. House of Representatives” Logistics Management

“Labor Certification Process for the Temporary Employment of Foreign Workers in

Agriculture in the United States: Adverse Effect Wage Rates for Non-Range Occupations

in 2022″ Department of Labor

“Biden Signs Bill Banning Goods from China’s Xinjiang Over Forced Labor” CNN

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