Washington Week Ahead: Farm bill negotiations will heat up

By Derrick Cain

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Dec. 9, 2013 - Negotiations between farm bill conferees will intensify this week as the congressional clock ticks down and while stakeholders maintain hope lawmakers can agree on long-term agricultural policy before the end of the year.

There have been signals that the four principals - Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., ranking member Thad Cochran, R-Miss., House Agriculture Committee Chair Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn. - may be closing in on a deal. While the top conferees have been relatively tight-lipped, there may be, at least, partial agreement on some of the farm bill titles.

The Senate will be back in session today after a two-week break, and floor action will be focused largely on the defense spending bill. Senators also will deal with a judicial nomination.

Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said a farm bill conference report could hit the floor this week, but time would be short as House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the House will leave for the year on Friday.

Meetings among the top farm bill conferees are expected to continue this week, and the discussion of another extension will likely get louder. No formal meetings have been announced.

As Congress winds down for the year, lawmakers also will continue debate over a budget agreement. Another government shutdown could be looming early next year

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In addition, legislation that would reauthorize the nation's water resources development programs, for the first time in more than five years, could crop up for a final vote as conferees continue to work out relatively minor differences. The legislation has strong bipartisan support.

Further, the House will hold more hearings this week on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

The week's tentative events include:

Monday, Dec. 9.

12:00 p.m. The House will meet for morning hour debate.

2:00 p.m. The Senate will convene and proceed to a period of morning business.

2:00 p.m. The House will meet for legislative debate with no votes scheduled.

4:00 p.m. The Senate will resume consideration of the defense spending bill (S. 1197).

5:00 p.m. The Senate will proceed to an executive session to resume post-cloture debate on a judicial nomination.

5:30 p.m. The Senate will vote on the judicial nomination.

Tuesday, Dec. 10.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will join Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus for a “Farm to Fleet” event in Washington, D.C.

10:00 a.m. The House will meet for morning hour debate.

12:00 p.m. The House will meet for legislative business. First votes of the week will occur no earlier than 2:00 p.m.

12:00 p.m. USDA Report: WASDE

12:00 p.m. USDA Report: Cotton Ginnings

12:00 p.m. USDA Report: Cotton, Grains, Oilseeds, and World Agricultural Production Data

12:00 p.m. USDA Report: World Agricultural Production

12:00 p.m. USDA Report: Oilseeds: World Markets and Trade

12:00 p.m. USDA Report: Grains: World Markets and Trade

12:00 p.m. USDA Report: Cotton: World Markets and Trade

12:00 p.m. USDA Report: Crop Production

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin (WAOB)

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Season Average Price Forecast

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Aquaculture Trade Data

Wednesday, Dec. 11.

Deputy United States Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro will participate in a panel discussion on “The Changing Nature of the Trans-Atlantic Alliance” at the Foreign Policy Group's “Transformational Trends 2014” in Washington, D.C.

10:00 a.m. The House will meet for morning hour debate.

10:00 a.m. The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee's Subcommittee on Environment will hold a hearing on “A Factual Look at the Relationship Between Climate and Weather” in 2318 Rayburn.

10:00 a.m. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold an oversight hearing on domestic renewable fuels in 406 Dirksen.

12:00 p.m. The House will meet for legislative business.

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Broiler Hatchery

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: National Dairy Products Sales Report

Thursday, Dec. 12.

8:30 a.m. USDA Report: U.S. Export Sales

10:00 a.m. The House will meet for morning hour debate.

10:30 a.m. The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee's Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard will hold a hearing to conduct oversight of the National Weather Service in G50 Dirksen. The hearing will look at past and ongoing efforts to improve the timeliness, accuracy, and accessibility of weather forecasting and prediction services.

12:00 p.m. The House will meet for legislative business.

1:00 p.m. USDA Report: Cotton & Wool Outlook

1:00 p.m. USDA Report: Oil Crops Outlook

1:00 p.m. USDA Report: Wheat Outlook

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Potato Stocks

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Rice Outlook

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Feed Grains Outlook

Friday, Dec. 13.

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.

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Peanut Prices

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Dairy: World Markets and Trade

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Coffee: World Markets and Trade

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Cost of Production Forecast

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