Washington Week Ahead: Congress Seeks Crisis Aid Deal, Vilsack Heads to Hill | 2022-05-06

Senators are trying to hammer out a deal on a new Ukraine extra-spending bill by the end of this week, while Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and other cabinet members head to Capitol Hill to question their spending plans.

Also this week, the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers will host the first in a series of roundtables on Monday to seek feedback on the Biden administration’s plans to do another write-up of a new “waters” rule. of the United States” redefining the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act.

On Wednesday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will provide the latest inflation update with the release of the Consumer Price Index, showing what prices did in April. Supermarket prices rose 1.5% in March and 10% from a year earlier.

The supplement for Ukraine could have an impact on agriculture. The White House has requested $500 million to increase U.S. agricultural production, including crop insurance incentives for the double crop of winter wheat and soybeans and a temporary increase in loan assistance rates to commercialization.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said the Senate is trying to reach an agreement by the end of this week on the supplement.

“We certainly hope to have an agreement next week and then [Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer] will have to decide when it comes to the floor,” Stabenow said last week.

But senators have been lukewarm in their welcome to the White House proposal, particularly on whether it would actually increase production levels for American farmers.

Top Agriculture Committee Republican John Boozman of Arkansas said Agri Pulse he prefers to explore alternatives to what the White House is proposing, such as croplands listed in the conservation reserve program.

“We really don’t think this (the president’s proposal) would make a difference,” Boozman said. “So we’re really trying to find ways that would actually incentivize increasing production.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, also cast doubt on whether the provisions would have any tangible effect unless they included incentivizing farmers to take land out of conservation for cultivation, but said said he would “consider” the proposal.

Stabenow said she was working with Boozman and others to figure out “how [it] would work and what would be the impact.

“I’m in favor of that, but we need to figure out how you would make it work,” Stabenow said of the expense.

The White House request also included $100 million for the Food for Progress program, through which American agricultural products are bought and then sold for cash to fund projects that improve agricultural production in needy countries. Another $20 million is for the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust, which also funds purchases of American products.

School nutrition directors are pushing lawmakers to also include an extension of school nutrition waivers issued at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic which, among other things, allowed schools to provide free meals to all students, regardless of age. or their family’s ability to pay them.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., blocked the waiver extensions from being included in fiscal year 2022 funding legislation signed into law in March, but Stabenow is trying again to have them included in the Ukrainian supplement, Roll Call reported Friday.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will appear before the Senate Farm Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday to testify on the USDA’s fiscal year 2023 budget request, and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on Wednesday and Thursday , will appear consecutively in Senate and House appropriations hearings. .

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will appear before the House Transportation-HUD appropriations subcommittee on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power will appear twice, first with the House Foreign and State Operations Appropriations Subcommittee and then before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Powers is almost certain to be asked about the impact of Ukrainian water on global food security.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner Chris Magnus will testify before the House Appropriations Committee.

Here’s a list of agriculture- or rural-related events scheduled for this week in Washington and elsewhere (all times EDT):

Monday May 9

10:30 p.m. — The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers are hosting a virtual Midwest Regional Roundtable on U.S. Dominion Waters Reviews.

4:00 p.m. — USDA releases weekly crop progress report.

tuesday 10 may

10:00 a.m. – Senate Subcommittee on Farm Appropriations hearing with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, 124 Dirksen.

1 p.m. – House Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Wednesday May 11

8:30 a.m. – Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly publication Consumer price index.

9:00 a.m. – Farm Foundation Online Forum, “Farm, Food, and the Policies and Practices Behind America’s Dietary Health.”

10:00 a.m. — House Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee hearing with Samantha Power, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Noon – The USDA releases the monthly report on estimates of global agricultural supply and demand and agricultural production.

2:00 p.m. — Senate Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Subcommittee hearing with Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. 192 Dirksen.

2 p.m. – House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee hearing with Customs and Border Patrol with Commissioner Chris Magnus.

2:30 p.m. — Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing with Samantha Power, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development.

Thursday May 12

8:30 a.m. – USDA releases weekly export sales report.

9:30 a.m. — House Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the FY 2023 budget request for the Commerce Department with Secretary Gina Raimondo.

10:00 a.m. – House Agriculture Committee hearing on FTX’s proposal to clear swap exchanges.

1:00 p.m. — Bipartisan Policy Center webinar on the future of the World Trade Organization.

Friday May 13

For more news, visit: www.Agri-Pulse.com

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