Weekly Food and Agriculture Update – 1.9

January 9, 2023

Contents

  • Big Picture Overview
  • Internship Opportunity
  • A Quick Look Back
  • Contact the Team

Big Picture Overview

Congress

After 15 rounds of voting, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was elected Speaker of the House early Saturday morning, the first step in moving forward with business of the 118th Congress. Next, the House must pass the rules package, which puts forth procedure for how Republicans will conduct business. Notably, Speaker McCarthy made significant concessions to a handful of members to secure their votes for the Speakership, including allowing a single member of his party to initiate votes to remove him. McCarthy appears to have also agreed to key committee assignments, a freeze of FY2022 spending levels, and strategy regarding the debt-ceiling.

Now that Members in both chambers have officially been sworn in, Committee leadership and members assignments will be the next order of business. Today, the Republican Steering Committee recommended Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO) to chair the House Ways and Means Committee. Now, the full House Republican Conference will vote on the recommendation as a formality.

Last week, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) announced she will not be seeking reelection in 2024. In addition, Senator Braun (R-IN) will be leaving the Senate after this term to run for governor of Indiana. Also leaving the Senate, Ben Sasse (R-NE) officially resigned over the weekend as he prepares for his new role as the next University of Florida president. A replacement for Sasse will be appointed by Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen (R). This brings the current Senate to 48 Democrats, 48 Republicans, and three Independents (who caucus with Democrats). 

The farm bill roundtable that incoming House Ag Chairman Glen Thompson (R-PA) had announced for Saturday, January 7, has now been rescheduled to Friday, January 13, still being held in Harrisonburg, P.A., at the Farm Show grounds. Committee makeup will not yet be official by that date; however, the initial attendee list was bipartisan, including Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Derrick Van Orden (R-WI), Austin Scott (R-GA), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Mary Miller (R-IL), Jim Baird (R-IN), and Dan Meuser (R-PA).  

Administration

While at the American Farm Bureau Convention today, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack highlighted several programs with the goal of investing in farmers and ranchers across the nation, especially those who are new and historically underserved. Specifically, the program areas include, “assisting producers facing high input costs to access domestic, innovative fertilizer capacity; improving risk protection for underserved producers; investing in new choices and meat processing capacity for livestock producers; and providing relief for producers impacted by disaster and the pandemic.” Additional details can be found here

On the regulatory side, the Office of Management and Budget has released the Fall 2022 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Action, which details regulatory and deregulatory actions within the Executive Branch.

As one of the final actions of the 117th Congress, the Senate confirmed Doug McKalip to be the Chief Agricultural Negotiator at USTR. The Senate also confirmed Alexis Taylor to be the USDA Trade Undersecretary, and she has started in the new role. 

Internship Opportunity

Torrey Advisory Group is seeking an intern for the Summer 2023 semester. Our interns have the opportunity to work alongside the entire Torrey team to provide support on various legislative and communications projects. For this paid internship, agricultural experience is a plus, but not required. Interested applicants should send a one-page résumé, cover letter, writing sample (maximum 3 pages), and references in one document to dclobbyshop@gmail.com. Applications close January 31, 2023. Additional details can be found here.

A Quick Look Back

Contact the Team

Feel free to contact Michael Torrey, Tara Smith, Cassandra Kuball, James Glueck, Barbara Patterson, Katie Naessens, Caroline Snell, Danielle Nelson, Julie McClureJacqueline MuhammadAshley Willits, Perry Harlow, or Tracy Boyle with any questions or comments. 

Food and agricultural organizations that need the right results in Washington, D.C. can trust Torrey Advisory Group to put its relationships, reputation, and expertise to work on your issue. Since 2005, the firm has successfully provided legislative and regulatory guidance, issues management, and association management services to a wide variety of clients. Learn more about us at torreydc.com. 

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