Washington Week Ahead: Government funding tops to do list

By Daniel Enoch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Sept. 15, 2014 - With time running out, Congress will attempt this week to pass a continuing resolution (CR) that would keep the government, including the Department of Agriculture, running beyond the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.

But just what will be included in the CR remains up in the air.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers last week introduced what he called a “clean” short-term CR (H.J. 124) that continues funding government programs and services at the current annual cap of $1.012 trillion until Dec. 11.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy delayed a vote on the measure to give members time to consider whether the CR should include a provision requested by the Obama administration to aide Syrian rebels fighting the radical Islamic group ISIS. McCarthy has said a vote on a CR could be held as early as Tuesday.

The measure may also include a short-term extension of the Export-Import Bank, which some Tea Party-backed lawmakers have tried to eliminate, charging that the bank is an example of “crony capitalism.” The bank's charter is also set to expire with the end of the fiscal year.

(For more on the CR, listen to the Agri-Pulse Open Mic interview with Rep. Robert Aderholt, who chairs the Agricultural Appropriations Subcommittee.)

Lets Talk Food

The House and Senate will be in recess for most of October and the first week in November to campaign for the mid-term elections.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has a busy week scheduled. Today he's visiting a farm in Illinois where he'll detail conservation projects in 31 states and the District of Columbia. On Tuesday, he'll be addressing Growth Energy, an ethanol producers group, and on Wednesday he'll be testifying before the House Agriculture Committee on implementation of pilot programs from the 2014 Farm Bill aimed at reducing dependency on government nutrition programs.

Here's a list of agriculture-related events in Washington and elsewhere in the coming week:

Monday, Sept. 15

U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy kicks off its five-day “Keystone XL Pipeline Lost Opportunity Tour” of the communities along the pipeline's proposed route, from Montana's northern border, to the Nebraska-Kansas border. Tour concludes on Sept. 19, the sixth anniversary of TransCanada's first application to build the pipeline.

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman meets with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh in Washington to discuss Trans-Pacific Partnership issues. Closed to the press.

12 p.m. The House returns at noon for morning hour and 2:00 p.m. for legislative business. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 p.m.

1 p.m. National Research Council opens two-day public meeting to consider “Genetically Engineered Crops: Past Experience and Future Prospects.” Speakers include New York Times reporter Amy Harmon, winner of the 2014 Science in Society Journalism Award for her article, “A Race to Save the Orange by Altering Its DNA.” National Academy of Sciences Building, Washington.

2 p.m. Agriculture Secretary Vilsack visits Erickson Farm in Milan, Illinois, where he'll make an announcement that will “help develop cutting edge ideas to accelerate innovation in conservation of natural resources.” USDA said Vilsack will detail projects in 31 states and the District of Columbia.

2 p.m. Republican state Secretaries and Commissioners of Agriculture will host a conference call for reporters to discuss the impact of “federal overreach on agriculture.”

2:00 p.m. The Senate stands adjourned until 2:00 p.m. and Senators will be giving 10 minute speeches until 5:30, when there will be a roll call vote to invoke cloture on S.2199, the Paycheck Fairness Act.

4 p.m. USDA releases weekly Crop Progress report.

Tuesday, Sept. 16

8:30 a.m. Agriculture Secretary Vilsack will address Growth Energy's 2014 Advocacy Conference in Washington.

10:00 a.m. The House meets for morning hour and at noon for legislative business. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the House may act on a continuing resolution as early as today.

10:30 a.m. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee holds its fifth meeting, through tomorrow, in Rockville, Maryland. Click here to see the agenda.

3 p.m. USDA releases reports on Hop Stocks and Turkey Hatchery.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

Acting Deputy USTR Wendy Cutler will visit India for meetings with her counterparts from a number of government ministries to advance a range of trade issues, including agricultural trade. In Delhi. Closed Press.

10 a.m. Agriculture Secretary Vilsack will testify at House Agriculture Committee hearing called to review the implementation of Section 4022 of the 2014 Farm Bill: Pilot projects to reduce dependency and increase work requirements and work effort under the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program. 1301 Longworth.

10:15 a.m. The Senate Committee on Finance holds a hearing on “Reforming America's Outdated Energy Tax Code” in 215 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

10:30 a.m. The Senate Committee on the Judiciary holds a hearing on “Why Net Neutrality Matters: Protecting Consumers and Competition through Meaningful Open Internet Rules” in 216 Hart Senate Office Building.

1 p.m. House Small Business Committee holds a hearing entitled, “Is the FCC Responding to the needs of Small Business and Rural America?” FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler is scheduled to testify. 2360 Rayburn.

2:30 p.m. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation meets in executive session to consider a number of bills including: S. 2777, Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2014, and S. 2581, the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act of 2014. 253 Russell.

3 p.m. USDA releases report on Broiler Hatchery.

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack will deliver remarks at Heroes of Conservation Gala in Washington.

President Barack Obama will host a picnic for Members of Congress at the White House.

Thursday, Sept. 18

USTR Chief Agricultural Negotiator Darci Vetter travels to China with USDA Under Secretary Michael Scuse to co-chair the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade Phytosanitary Working Group, meet with Agriculture Vice Minister Niu Dun, and participate in Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings, in Beijing. Closed Press.

The Organic Trade Association opens a two-day conference on “All Things Organic” at the Baltimore Convention Center. The conference is part of the four-day National Products Expo East Show which opens Sept. 17.

8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosts discussion on stakes involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. Chamber headquarters in Washington.

9:00 a.m. The House will convene and will welcome the President of Ukraine for a joint meeting at 10:00 a.m. The House comes back at noon for legislative business.

3:00 p.m. House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing: Unaccompanied Alien Children, pressing the Administration for a strategy.

 

3 p.m. USDA releases reports on Citrus Fruits, Livestock Historical Track Records and Potatoes.

Friday, Sept. 19

9:00 a.m. The House will meet for legislative business. Last votes of the week are expected no later than 3:00 p.m. House will then adjourn for a one-week recess, reconvening on Sept. 29.

3 p.m. USDA releases reports on Cattle on Feed, Milk Production and Peanut Prices.

 

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