December 6, 2021
- Big Picture Outlook
- Thoughts from Team Torrey
- The Week Ahead
- A Quick Look Back
Big Picture Outlook
The Senate passed a stopgap spending bill Thursday that avoids a short-term shutdown and funds the federal government through Feb. 18 after leaders defused a partisan standoff over federal vaccine mandates. The House passed the measure by a 221-212 vote. The Senate approved the measure by a vote of 69-28. The measure was signed into law by President Biden on Friday.
Build Back Better
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) plans to bring President Biden’s social spending and climate bill to the floor as soon as the week of Dec. 13, after Democrats finish their conversations with the Senate Parliamentarian. To start debate on the Build Back Better legislation, Schumer would also need total unity from his caucus, something he doesn’t yet have. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have not said whether they support the spending bill. Manchin has also declined to say if he would vote to start the debate. Senate Democrats are seeking to dramatically increase funding for USDA’s conservation programs as part of the climate-smart agriculture provisions in the bill. The new Senate text of the bill’s agriculture provisions earmarks $2.35 billion for technical assistance provided by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, up from the $200 million set aside for that purpose in the House-passed bill.
Other Deadlines This Month
Congress again faces an impending deadline to address the federal debt limit sometime between December and January, and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) don’t appear to be anywhere close to a deal. Both leaders want to avoid another standoff that could threaten the nation’s credit rating. Separately, the push to pass the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act hit another snag last week, as the Senate failed to vote to end debate on its version of the bill. The 45-51 vote fell well short of the 60 votes needed, pushing the timeline for passing the annual defense policy legislation back. Even after the Senate does pass its version of the NDAA, the House and Senate will have to undergo the conference process, which is now likely to have its latest start since the 2013 bill.
The Week Ahead
Week of December 6
- House Consideration of R. 4996 – Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021
Tuesday, December 7
- 10:00 AM EST: Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation holds a hearing to examine challenges posed by ocean shipping supply chains.
Wednesday, December 8
- 10:00 AM EST: House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations holds a hearing to discuss a Review of USDA Nutrition Distribution Programs
Thursday, December 9
- 10:15 AM EST: Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs holds a hearing to to examine Federal efforts to address PFAS contamination.
To see a full list of House and Senate Committee business, visit here.
A Quick Look Back
“USDA Updates Crop Insurance to Respond to Producer Needs, Support Conservation and Climate Mitigation Efforts” USDA RMA
“USDA Improves, Strengthens Crop Insurance for Hemp Producers” USDA RMA
“Fertilizer Inflation Likely to Persist into Spring Planting” CoBank
“U.S. biofuel blending proposals to come in days, sources say” Reuters
“Are you ready for USDA’s “Bioengineered Food” labeling rule?” Food Engineering
“Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption Relating to Agricultural Water” Federal Register
“U.S. farm exports to set record, fall short of USDA projections” WEAU 13 News
“USDA Invests $633 Million in Climate-Smart and Resilient Infrastructure for People in Rural Communities” USDA
“White House report supports Ocean Shipping Reform Act” Marine Business World
“Biden Administration Delays Vaccine Mandate Penalties Until 2022” Government Executive
“Adverse Effect Wage Rate Methodology for the Temporary Employment of H-2A
Nonimmigrants in Non-Range Occupations in the United States” Department of Labor