Washington Week Ahead: Infrastructure Uncertainty, SCOTUS Weighs in Prop 12 | 2021-06-26
The House is moving forward with a partisan infrastructure bill as there is uncertainty over the future of a freshly struck $ 1.2 trillion deal between President Joe Biden and a bipartite group of senators.
The Chamber will take a $ 547 billion surface transportation bill this week, but much of the attention of lawmakers in the coming days will be on the fate of the bipartisan infrastructure deal announced on Thursday.
Biden immediately questioned the future of the deal when he said Thursday that he would not sign the resulting legislation unless Congress also sends him another massive reconciliation measure that would meet Democratic priorities, including including new domestic spending.
It would take at least 10 GOP senators to pass the infrastructure package, and at least one of them, Kansas Republican Jerry Moran, now wants the assurance of Democratic swing votes Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, that they won’t support a separate reconciliation bill, said an aide to Moran Agri-Pulse.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki did not reiterate Biden’s ultimatum to pass the two bills on Friday. But Biden “plans to deliver exactly on the commitment he made” to GOP senators to support the deal, “and he expects them to do the same,” Psaki said.
“I gave my word to support the infrastructure plan, and that’s what I intend to do,” he said. “I intend to vigorously pursue the adoption of this plan, which the Democrats and Republicans agreed to vigorously on Thursday. It would be good for the economy, good for our country, good for our people. I fully support them without reservation or hesitation. “
The House surface transportation bill is likely to gain little support from the GOP. Among the provisions they dislike is one that would force states to consider low-carbon alternatives such as public transit to widen highways.
Also this week ahead of the next July 4 recess, the House Appropriations Committee will debate amendments to several of its spending bills for fiscal year 2022, including the Agriculture and Home Affairs-EPA measures.
The agriculture bill for fiscal year 22, which includes funding from the Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, was brought forward by the appropriations subcommittee on Friday. agricultural.
In Friday’s brief meeting, Republicans focused their criticism not on the bill’s provisions, which include significant increases for rural broadband and agricultural research, but on the overall level of spending; The bill would provide for an increase of more than 10% to $ 26.55 billion.
The Senate is out of session for the next two weeks.
The Supreme Court could announce as early as Monday whether it will consider a North American Meat Institute petition in a lawsuit challenging California’s Proposition 12, which would impose animal containment standards on farms that sell produce in the state.
The court considered the petition at a conference Thursday, which usually means a decision will follow on Monday. But the court could also expand the process by seeking advice from the Solicitor General, the Justice Department’s lead litigator.
The government supported NAMI in the 9th United States Court of Appeals, but did not weigh in the Supreme Court.
Twenty states are supporting NAMI in the dispute. On the other side are Health Care Without Harm, the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, the Consumer Federation of America, Food & Water Watch, and the Humane Society of the US.
Meanwhile, lawsuits continue in a series of cases challenging the Biden administration’s debt cancellation program for minority farmers.
Judges in two of the seven debt relief cases – Wisconsin and Florida – have issued orders suspending payments. Among other debt relief cases filed against the government alleging unequal treatment under the law, one is scheduled for a preliminary injunction hearing on Tuesday. In this case, in the Western District of Tennessee, Union City, Tennessee, farmer Robert Holman is the applicant.
The USDA said it sent a handful of payments before the temporary restraining order was issued by U.S. District Judge William Griesbach in Wisconsin. These payments were “part of a test package to make sure that USDA’s processes and systems are working – and they are,” said a USDA official.
At USDA: Key Reports and the UN Food Initiative
Grain markets will closely monitor two reports from USDA, the annual report, on Wednesday Area report on the amount of crops farmers planted this spring, and the quarterly report Cereal stocks report.
Cereal traders believe farmers planted more corn and soybeans than expected when the USDA released its planting forecast on March 31. and 87.6 million acres respectively, according to ADM Investor Services.
Also on Wednesday, the Biden administration will hold its final United States fundraising meeting in preparation for the United Nations Food System Summit, an initiative to develop global recommendations for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, including the elimination of hunger and the fight against climate change. Farmer groups fear that the European Union is steering the UN initiative towards recommendations that denigrate American farming practices and discourage meat consumption.
In conjunction with the summit, USDA conducted a “National Food System Dialogue,” a series of three sessions that began Jan. 13, continued on May 19, and ended with Wednesday’s meeting, which it said. USDA, “will focus on the ways forward.” According to the USDA, approximately 100 groups participated in the dialogues, including groups from the agriculture and food industry, research and academic institutions, civil society groups, and state and local government organizations.
“With conflict, the climate crisis and economic disruption from COVID-19 exacerbating already worsened food security trends, the United States has embarked on a summit that places the fight against hunger, poverty and malnutrition – and their causes – central to the discussion for global action, “USDA said in a statement. Agri-Pulse.
“We are aligning our efforts to improve the nutrition of the most vulnerable, empower young people and women for greater inclusion, address the link between food production and climate change, and scale up investments in agricultural innovation to dramatically improve sustainability.” and the resilience of food systems. “
Here is a list of agriculture or rural related events scheduled for this week in Washington and elsewhere (all times EDT):