September 26, 2022
- Big Picture Outlook
- Thoughts from Team Torrey
- The Week Ahead
- A Quick Look Back
Big Picture Outlook
White House Conference on Hunger Nutrition, and Health
On September 28, the White House will be hosting the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. The Conference will be centered around five pillars: improving food access and affordability, integrating nutrition and health, empowering all consumers to make and have access to healthy choices, physical activity, enhancing nutrition and food security research. Speakers are expected to include: President Biden, Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, White House Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, and Chef José Andrés. Ahead the conference, the Administration is expected to announce a National Strategy to identify the framework for public-private partnerships to address the challenges discussed at the conference.
Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge Roadmap
The Biden Administration announced the “Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge Roadmap,” a government-wide strategy to scale up the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) and meet the goals of the SAF Grand Challenge, which was signed in 2021. The roadmap aims to align government and industry actions to meet the major goals of the Challenge, including reducing GHG emissions by at least 50 percent and supplying enough SAF to meet 100 percent of fuel demand by 2050. The development of the roadmap was a collaborative effort between the U.S. Departments of Energy, Agriculture, Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Federal Aviation Administration.
Railroad Contract Negotiations
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) are continuing negotiations with railroads as part of a voluntary extension of the “cooling off” period before union members could strike expires on September 29. Also, this week, a vote count on the tentative labor agreement between unions and railroads is expected from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. However, several other unions will not close voting until early to mid-October.
On the legislative front, shippers continue to press Congress to reauthorize the Surface Transportation Board and grant greater regulatory authority to the STB. The legislative effort is led by Democrat House members, including Chair of the T&I Committee Peter DeFazio (D-OR-4) and Chair of the Ag Committee David Scott (D-GA-13). They have introduced the Freight Rail Shipping Fair Market Act (H.R. 8649), but plans to move the bill this month have been postponed. Separately, the Federal Railroad Administration has extended a comment period on a proposed rule that would establish safe minimum requirements for the size of train crews to December 2. A public hearing is expected during the extended comment period.
Government Spending Deadline Looms
As the clock ticks closer to the end of fiscal year 2022, Congress is racing to finalize a stopgap spending bill that will avoid a government shutdown. Reports indicate the spending bill text could be released as soon as today and includes emergency funding for Ukraine, limited disaster relief funding, and a five-year reauthorization of the FDA’s user fee programs. However, one of the key issues still under debate is whether a proposal by Senator Manchin that would expedite permits for energy projects will be included in the final spending bill. While Manchin is working to garner Republican support for including the measure, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is encouraging Republicans to vote no.
The Week Ahead
Wednesday, September 28
- 10:00am ET: Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing to examine keeping the pressure on Russia and its enablers, focusing on the reach of and next steps for U.S. sanctions
Wednesday, September 21
- 10:00am ET: House Rules Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process hearing on Right to Repair: Legislative and Budgetary Solutions to Unfair Restrictions on Repair
- 10:00am ET: Senate Environment and Public Works hearing to examine putting the Bipartisan Infrastructure law to work, focusing on state and local perspectives
Thursday, September 29
- 9:30am ET: House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations hearing on “A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: Title XII – Department Operations and Outreach”
- 10:00am ET: House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee hearing on “Investing in our Nation’s Transportation Infrastructure and Workers: Why it Matters”
- 10:00am ET: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing to examine forest safety and health-related bills
- 1:30pm ET: House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis hearing to discuss “A Big Climate Deal: Lowering Costs, Creating Jobs, and Reducing Pollution with the Inflation Reduction Act”
To see a full list of House and Senate Committee business, visit here.
A Quick Look Back
- Group Launches Effort to Create ‘Low-Carbon Fuel’ Standard – Advanced Biofuels USA
- Rural Broadband Projects Get $500 Million in USDA Funding –Successful Farming
- Special Report: Advisory – Story has been withdrawn – How U.S. ethanol plants are allowed to pollute more than oil refineries – Reuters
- Biden to announce $2.9 billion at UN to address food insecurity– The Hill