Washington Week Ahead: Deficit, Transportation and Farm Bill hearings

By Sara Wyant

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, May 6 - The deficit debate will be back in full swing when House lawmakers return Monday, while the Senate focuses on reducing interest rates for student loans.


House GOP leaders are planning to bring up a controversial $260 billion package designed to replace across-the-board-spending cuts that are set to take effect in 2013 and make additional cuts to reduce the federal deficit.

The reconciliation proposal includes cuts in the food stamp program that were approved April 18 by the House Agriculture Committee, as well as proposed reductions from five other House committees.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-WI,  plans to markup the Sequester Replacement Act of 2012 and the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012, starting at 2 .pm on Monday.

 Together we can feed the Bees


The Senate also returns on Monday, and is scheduled to resume consideration of the motion to proceed on S.22343, the Stop Student loan Interest Rate Hike Act.


On Tuesday afternoon, the first formal joint conference session on the Transportation bill is scheduled, tasking Democrats and Republicans to try and find common ground  both on approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and other issues.


On Friday, TransCanada filed a new permit to build the controversial pipeline with the State Department, which is in charge of reviewing the permit. The House version of the transportation bill approves the Keystone XL Pipeline, while the Senate version does not.


The House is also expected to vote on something that Democrats and Republicans were able to reach agreement on late Friday:  Reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank.  The bipartisan agreement will extend the Export Import Bank's charter through September 2014 and raise its loan exposure cap to $120 billion for the current fiscal year, to $130 billion in fiscal 2013 and then $140 billion in 2014.


No word yet on when the Senate Agriculture Committee's version of the 2012 Farm Bill will be considered by the full Senate, but the House Agriculture Committee will hold two subcommittee hearings this week, focusing on specialty crops, nutrition programs and farm credit.


For other hearings and events this week:


Monday, May 7

2:00 p.m., House Committee On The Budget, Markup: H.R. 4966, The Sequester Replacement Act of 2012 and The Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012, 210 Cannon HOB

Tuesday, May 8

11:00 a.m., House Committee on Agriculture | Subcommittee on Nutrition and Horticulture, Hearing: Formulation of the 2012 Farm Bill: Specialty Crop and Nutrition Programs, 1300 Longworth HOB

12:30 p.m., House Committee on Homeland Security | Subcommittee on Transportation Security, Hearing: Building Secure Partnerships in Travel, Commerce, and Trade with the Asia-Pacific Region, 311 Cannon HOB

Wednesday, May 9

Secretary Vilsack will be in New York for an undisclosed event.

12:30-1:30 p.m., “Year of Agriculture” speaker DuPont Executive Vice President James C. Borel, SAIS Kenney Auditorium 1740 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20036

1:00 p.m., House Small Business Committee, Running on Empty: The Effects of High Gasoline Prices on Small Businesses, 2360 Rayburn House Office Building

9:00 a.m., House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Energy and Power,
Hearing: The American Energy Initiative, 2123 Rayburn HOB

10:00 a.m., House Committee on Natural Resources, Hearing: Oversight Hearing on "Evaluating President Obama's Offshore Drilling Plan and Impacts on Our Future"1324 Longworth House Office Building

Thursday, May 10

Secretary Vilsack will again be in New York

Deputy Secretary Merrigan will provide opening remarks at a luncheon to celebrate the U.S.-EU Organic Partnership in Washington, DC

National Academy of Science “Summit on Strategies to Manage Herbicide-Resistant Weeds.” Jack Morton Auditorium, Media and Public Affairs Building, George Washington University, 805 21st Street NW Washington DC

11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., EU Rendez-Vous: A Capitol Organic Lunch Event, The Capitol Building

10:00 a.m., House Committee on Financial Services | International Monetary Policy and Trade, Hearing: Hearing entitled “The Costs and Consequences of Dodd-Frank Section 1502: Impacts on America and the Congo” 2128 Rayburn HOB

10:00 a.m., House Committee on Agriculture | Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, and Credit, Hearing: Formulation of the 2012 Farm Bill: Credit Programs, 1300 Longworth HOB

Saturday, May 12

Deputy Secretary Merrigan will announce funding availability for SNAP wireless EBT for farmers markets in Philadelphia, PA


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