Weekly Food and Agriculture Update – 12.5

December 5, 2022

Contents

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

Big Picture Overview

Congressional Update

The Senate is currently scheduled to be in session until December 21 and House until December 15. As the December 16 funding deadline approaches, Congress’ top priority for the lame-duck session will be the passage of the FY2023 Omnibus. Last week, President Biden met with Congressional leaders to reach an agreement to work toward the passage of an omnibus, in the hopes of avoiding the need to pass another stopgap funding bill. Currently, the top appropriators, Sens. Leahy (D-VT) and Shelby (R-AL), are working through negotiations on a topline funding level, trying to reach an agreement so other details of the package can be determined. Reports indicate Republicans are opposed to the equal increase in defense and nondefense funding that has helped secure bipartisan support in the past, arguing that Democrats have already achieved major increases in domestic funding through other measures during the current Congress. Other priorities include passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).  

FDA External Review

This week, the Reagan-Udall Foundation is set to release its external review of the Food and Drug Administration. The report is expected to include recommendations that could revamp the Agency’s food safety arm, with many former employees publicly stating that the structural makeup of the agency needs to be addressed. This was the review ordered by FDA Commissioner Robert Califf in July, following months of criticism regarding FDA’s handing of the infant formula crisis.

Rail Strike Averted

On Friday morning, President Biden signed the law averting a rail strike that was set to begin on December 9. The Senate and House passed legislation will implement the tentative agreement that was reached on September 15th between the railroad carriers and rail unions. The House-passed measure that would have added seven paid sick days to the agreements failed in the Senate. The law provides for a 24% wage increase during the five-year period from 2020 through 2024, with a 14.1% wage increase effective immediately. The agreement also includes five $1,000 annual lump sum payments, adjustments to health care premiums, and health benefit enhancements, and an additional personal leave day for all employees.  

The Week Ahead

Tuesday, December 6

  • 10:00 AM: Senate Ag hearing to examine 2023 Farm Bill, focusing on research

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 McClure, Ashley 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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