Weekly Food and Agriculture Update – 9.12

September 12, 2022


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

Big Picture Outlook

Congressional Update

The Senate is back in session, and the House will return on Tuesday, September 13. The Senate will continue to focus on moving judicial nominees through the confirmation process ahead of the upcoming midterm elections when there could potentially be a flip in who controls the gavel.

In addition, Government funding is set to expire on September 30. While six out of 12 appropriations bills have been passed in the House, the others are stalled due to a number of issues dividing Democrats, such as immigration and defense funding levels. The White House has requested an additional $47 billion in supplemental funds, further complicating negotiations, as Republicans quickly pushed back on $26 billion requested for covid testing, vaccines, and monkeypox related funding. Congress seems to want to avoid a shutdown and will likely vote on a continuing resolution to extend funding until December 16, and then work to negotiate spending after the midterms. 

Thompson Farm Bill Priorities 

Ranking Member of the House Agricultural Committee GT Thompson publicly stated his top priorities should Republicans take back the majority in the 118th Congress. Passing a reauthorization of the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act along with revamping the way in which stakeholder feedback is being collected for the upcoming farm bill were top on his list of priorities. He also stated that he was committed to passing a farm bill on time, rejecting the idea of an extension because it would cause lawmakers to miss key opportunities to make improvements to existing programs.  

Indo-Pacific Economic Framework 

The first in person Indo-Pacific Economic Framework took place in Los Angeles, CA, last week. The two-day meeting brought together representatives from the United States, Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam to strengthen economic ties within the region through four main pillars: trade, supply chain resiliency, clean energy infrastructure, and tax and anticorruption. Notably, India is the only country that did not commit to the trade pillar, but U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai has publicly stated that she will continue to work with them to secure future participation. 

USTR Chief Agricultural Negotiator

The Senate Finance Committee unanimously voted (27-0) to send the nomination of Doug McKalip to the full Senate. McKalip faced criticism from Republicans during his hearing regarding the Administration’s lack of focus on traditional free trade agreements and increasing U.S. foreign market access, but notably McKalip’s qualifications for the role were not a point of debate. U.S. Trade Representative Tai is urging the Senate to confirm McKalip as soon as possible. The strong bipartisan committee vote signals that the Senate could take up the nomination in the near term.

Rail Worker Contract Negotiations

As the September 16 deadline for rail worker contract negotiations approaches, tentative agreements have been reached between major rail carriers and eight of the 12 rail unions involved in ongoing discussions. While this is progress, the other unions must all be in agreement by September 16 or rail workers could begin to strike. If this were to happen, the Association of American Railroads projects the economic impact could total more than $2 billion a day. Rail carriers showed willingness to reach an agreement after Biden’s Presidential Emergency Board recommended a greater increase in five-year total gross wage, however the unions that remain opposed have publicly stated that without additional reform on attendance policies, vacation, and sick days, an agreement will not be reached. Negotiations are ongoing and will be watched carefully in the days ahead.

The Week Ahead

Wednesday, September 14

  • 10:00am ET: House Agriculture Committee hearing to discuss soil health practices and programs that support regenerative agriculture
  • 10:00am ET: House Small Business Rural Development, Agriculture and Trade Subcommittee hearing on right to repair and what it means for entrepreneurs 
  • 10:00am ET: Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee hearing to examine S.4760, to amend the Commodity Exchange Act to provide the Commodity Futures Trading Commission jurisdiction to oversee the spot digital commodity market  
  • 10:15 am ET: House Education and Labor Committee hearing on removing barriers to organizing  
  • 11:00am ET: House Ways and Means Committee hearing to discuss the future of US-Taiwan trade  

Thursday, September 15

  • 10:00am ET: House Agriculture Committee hearing to discuss 2022 Farm Bill broadband provisions 
  • 2:00pm ET: House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials joint hearing to discuss rail service challenges and the impact on agriculture

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

A Quick Look Back

Weekly Food and Agriculture Update – 2.21

Weekly Food and Agriculture Update – 2.14

Weekly Food and Agriculture Update – 2.7

More from team torrey

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Weekly Food and Agriculture Update – 2.21

Weekly Food and Agriculture Update – 2.14

Weekly Food and Agriculture Update – 2.7

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