Washington Week Ahead: Still searching for farm bill floor time
By A. G. Kawamura
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.
WASHINGTON, Sept. 9, 2012 - While members of Congress were back in their respective districts over the August recess. But when House Leader Eric Cantor published the House schedule last week, the Virginia Republican made no mention of the multi-year farm bill package, H.R. 6083, which the House Agriculture Committee passed on July 12.
Instead, members will try to advance a six-month spending bill, approve a House Republican bill aimed at preventing future federal investments in now bankrupt companies like Solyndra, and pass a veterans' jobs bill.
Chairman Frank Lucas is still trying to remain optimistic that House leaders will take up the measure during this legislative session, but in an interview with the Oklahoma Farm Network's Ron Hays on Friday, Lucas said he is not seeing any sense of urgency.
“I am counting on my members coming back in from the countryside and explaining to the elected leadership, on both the majority and minority sides, that It's important that we have a comprehensive farm bill, that the certainty that a farm bill provides in drought years and in non-drought years is critically important,” Lucas told Hays.
“My concern is, though, I'm not seeing that kind of response. The conversations I'm having with my colleagues, the interaction I'm having with folks across the country, I'm not seeing that fired up concern that will help drive this process.”
Lucas said the difficulty in garnering support from other farm state legislators is that even with the drought, some producers have not yet been sufficiently impacted. He said high corn prices will generate large crop insurance checks for producers experiencing the drought. And, he said, high cattle prices are pacifying the livestock industry somewhat, according to Hays' report on www.oklahomafarmreport.com
“Right now, the circumstances may be such that producers can survive. And maybe their bankers can stay with them. And maybe their suppliers can stay with them. But a farm bill is not about the next six months. A farm bill is about year three and four and five from now.”
Lucas told Hays that: “The worst case scenario is that we're not able to do the disaster assistance on livestock, that we can't pass a farm bill and, starting on September 30, various pieces of the farm bill begin to unwind. Now, some of my colleagues say that would take until next April or May to really, really hurt, but I would tell you that once Humpty Dumpty falls off the wall, the old nursery rhyme is right. It's hard to put him back together again.”
In an attempt to keep the pressure on House leaders, farm organization leaders scheduled a “Farm Bill Now” rally near the Capitol on Wednesday morning. For a list of other scheduled events and reports this week, see the schedule below.
MONDAY, Sept. 10.
10:00 a.m. Secretary Vilsack will address the National Farmers Union's Fall Fly In at USDA in Washington, DC
Growth Energy Advocacy conference
The U.S. Senate convenes at 2:00pm and at 5:00pm, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session to consider Executive Calendar #664, the nomination of Stephanie Marie Rose, of IA, to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of Iowa with 30 minutes of debate equally divided and controlled between Senators Leahy and Grassley or their designees.
The House will meet at 2:00 p.m. for legislative business. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 p.m.
Legislation Considered Under Suspension of the Rules:
1) H.R. 3397 - Cabin Fee Act of 2011, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Doc Hastings / Natural Resources Committee)
2) H.R. 2706 - Billfish Conservation Act of 2011, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Jeff Miller / Natural Resources Committee)
3) H.R. 6007 - North Texas Zebra Mussel Barrier Act of 2012, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Ralph Hall / Natural Resources Committee)
4) H.R. 2489 - American Battlefield Protection Program Amendments Act of 2012 (Sponsored by Rep. Ralph Hall / Natural Resources Committee)
5) H.R. 2139 - Lions Club International Century of Service Commemorative Coin Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Peter Roskam / Financial Services Committee)
6) H.R. 6186 - To require a study of voluntary community-based flood insurance options and how such options could be incorporated into the national flood insurance program, and for other purposes (Sponsored by Rep. Gwen Moore / Financial Services Committee)
7) H.R. 4264 - FHA Emergency Fiscal Solvency Act of 2012, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Judy Biggert / Financial Services Committee)
8) H.R. 6122 - To revise the authority of the Librarian of Congress to accept gifts and bequests on behalf of the Library, and for other purposes (Sponsored by Rep. Dan Lungren / House Administration Committee)
9) H.R. 406 - To amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to permit candidates for election for Federal office to designate an individual who will be authorized to disburse funds of the authorized campaign committees of the candidate in the event of the death of the candidate (Sponsored by Rep. Walter Jones / House Administration Committee)
10) H.Con.Res. 132 - Providing funding to ensure the printing and production of the authorized number of copies of the revised and updated version of the House document entitled "Hispanic Americans in Congress", and for other purposes (Sponsored by Rep. Dan Lungren / House Administration Committee)
11) H.R. 6336 - To direct the Joint Committee on the Library to accept a statue depicting Frederick Douglass from the District of Columbia and to provide for the permanent display of the statue in Emancipation Hall of the Capitol Visitor Center (Sponsored by Rep. Dan Lungren / House Administration Committee)
4:00 pm. USDA report: Crop Progress
Tuesday, September 11
On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business.
Legislation Considered Under Suspension of the Rules:
1) H.R. 4631 - Government Spending Accountability Act of 2012, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Joe Walsh / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
2) H.R. 538 - Government Customer Service Improvement Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Henry Cuellar / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
3) H.R. 4057 - Improving Transparency of Education Opportunities for Veterans Act of 2012, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Gus Bilirakis / Veterans' Affairs Committee)
4) H.R. 4305 - Child and Elderly Missing Alert Program (Sponsored by Rep. Steve Chabot / House Judiciary Committee)
5) H.R. 6215 - To amend the Trademark Act of 1946 to correct an error in the provisions relating to remedies for dilution, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith / Judiciary Committee)
6) H.R. 6185 - Local Courthouse Safety Act of 2012, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Sandy Adams / Judiciary Committee)
7) H.R. 1775 - Stolen Valor Act of 2011 (Sponsored by Rep. Joe Heck / Judiciary Committee)
8) H.R. 6080 - To make improvements in the enactment of title 41, United States Code, into a positive law title and to improve the code (Sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith / Judiciary Committee)
9) H.R. 2800 - To amend the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 to reauthorize the Missing Alzheimer's Disease Patient Alert Program (Sponsored by Rep. Maxine Waters / Judiciary Committee)
10) H.R. 6189 - To eliminate unnecessary reporting requirements for unfunded programs under the Office of Justice Programs, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. John Conyers / Judiciary Committee)
11) S. 3245 - A bill to extend by 3 years the authorization of the EB-5 Regional Center Program, the E-Verify Program, the Special Immigrant Nonminister Religious Worker Program, and the Conrad State 30 J-1 Visa Waiver Program (Sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy / Judiciary Committee)
12) H.R. 6131 - To extend the Undertaking Spam, Spyware, And Fraud Enforcement With Enforcers beyond Borders Act of 2006, and for other purposes (Sponsored by Rep. Mary Bono Mack / Energy and Commerce Committee)
13) S. 710 - Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act (Sponsored by Sen. John Thune / Energy and Commerce Committee)
14) H.R. 5865 - American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2012 (Sponsored by Rep. Dan Lipinski / Energy and Commerce Committee)
15) H.R. 3857 - Public Transit Security and Local Law Enforcement Support Act (Sponsored by Rep. Bob Turner / Homeland Security Committee)
16) H.R. 6028 - No-Hassle Flying Act of 2012 (Sponsored by Rep. Joe Walsh / Homeland Security Committee)
17) H.R. 1410 - Vietnam Human Rights Act of 2011 (Sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith / Foreign Affairs Committee)
18) H.Res. 484 - Calling on the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to respect basic human rights and cease abusing vague national security provisions such as articles 79 and 88 of the Vietnamese penal code which are often the pretext to arrest and detain citizens who peacefully advocate for religious and political freedom (Sponsored by Rep. Loretta Sanchez / Foreign Affairs Committee)
19) H.R. 1464 - North Korean Refugee Adoption Act of 2011 (Sponsored by Rep. Ed Royce / Foreign Affairs Committee)
20) H.Res. 177 - Expressing support for internal rebuilding, resettlement, and reconciliation within Sri Lanka that are necessary to ensure a lasting peace (Sponsored by Rep. Mike Grimm / Foreign Affairs Committee)
21) S.Con.Res. 17 - A concurrent resolution expressing the sense of Congress that Taiwan should be accorded observer status in the International Civil Aviation Organization (Sponsored by Sen. Robert Menendez / Foreign Affairs Committee)
H.R. 5544 - Minnesota Education Investment and Employment Act, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Chip Cravaack / Natural Resources Committee)
H.R. 5949 - FISA Amendments Act Reauthorization Act of 2012 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith / Judiciary Committee / Permanent Select Intelligence Committee)
H.Res. __ - Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2013 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Hal Rogers / Appropriations Committee)
H.R. __ - The National Security and Job Protection Act (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Allen West / Budget Committee)
H.R. 6213 - No More Solyndras Act, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton / Energy and Commerce Committee / Science, Space and Technology Committee)
At 2:15 p.m, the Senate is scheduled to take a cloture vote on the Vets Jobs Corps Act, S.3457.
Secretary Vilsack will address Growth Energy conference in Washington, DC
Deputy Secretary Merrigan will tour the Brattleboro Co-op in Brattleboro, VT, Alyson's Orchard and Walpole Valley Farms in Walpole, NH, Stonewall Farm, Monadnock Food Co-op and Keene State College in Keene, NH
11:30 a.m., Hearing: Oversight Hearing on "The Chu Memorandum: Directives Could Increase Electricity Costs for over 40 Million Families and Small Businesses," Host: Committee on Natural Resources | Full Committee, 1324 Longworth House Office Building
4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Aquaculture Data
USDA Report: Latest U.S. Agricultural Trade Data
Wednesday, September 12
11 a.m., Farm Bill Now coalition holds event in support of passing a five-year farm bill, West side of the Capitol
Growth Energy advocacy conference
8:30 AM Crop Production
8:30 AM Cotton Ginnings
9:30 AM World Agricultural Production
9:30 AM Grains: World Markets and Trade
9:30 AM Cotton: World Markets and Trade
10:00 AM Livestock and Meat Trade Data
3:00 PM Broiler Hatchery
4:00 PM Season-Average Price Forecasts
Thursday, September 13
2:00 p.m., Hearing: Joint Subcommittee Hearing: BioWatch Present and Future, Host: Committee on Homeland Security | Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications, 311 Cannon HOB
12:00 p.m., Hearing: Adding to Uncertainty: Small Businesses' Perspectives on the Tax Cliff, Host: Committee on Small Business | Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access
10:00 a.m., Hearing: The American Energy Initiative: A Focus on the Outlook for Achieving North American Energy Independence Within the Decade, Host: Committee on Energy and Commerce | Subcommittee on Energy and Power, 2123 Rayburn HOB
8:30 AM U.S. Export Sales
4:00 PM Cotton and Wool Outlook
4:00 PM Rice Outlook
4:00 PM Oil Crops Outlook
Friday, September 14
Secretary Vilsack will speak to the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture meeting in Des Moines, IA
Deputy Secretary Merrigan will participate in the Rodale Institute's Organic Pioneer Awards ceremony in Kutztown, PA
9:45 a.m., Hearing: The American Energy Initiative: A Focus on H.R. 6172, Host: Committee on Energy and Commerce | Subcommittee on Energy and Power, 2123 Rayburn HOB
The House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. Last votes expected no later than 3:00 p.m.
9:00 AM Wheat Outlook
9:00 AM Meat Price Spreads
9:00 AM Feed Outlook
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