Washington Week Ahead: Congress looking at immigration reform, farm bill

By Derrick Cain

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, July 8, 2013 - The pressure will continue to build on House lawmakers this week to bring a farm bill back to the floor, while House leadership works to find a way forward on immigration reform.

Coming off the July 4th recess, top House Republicans are scheduled to meet on Wednesday to discuss their next move on immigration.

The Senate approved its comprehensive immigration reform legislation (S. 744) June 27 on a bipartisan vote of 68-32. That bill aims to provide a pathway to legal status for millions of undocumented workers, including farm workers.

The House is not expected to take up the Senate bill, but House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., has moved four immigration-related bills through his committee, including one that would make various tweaks to the farm worker visa program and one that would mandate the federal work verification program, E-Verify.

Also, on Wednesday, the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on “Smithfield and Beyond: Examining Foreign Purchases of American Food Companies.”

Lets Talk Food

Both Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and ranking member Thad Cochran, R-Miss., have raised questions about the proposed purchase of Smithfield Foods by China, as well as future foreign acquisitions of U.S. agriculture companies.

Larry Pope, president and chief executive officer of Smithfield Foods, is scheduled to testify.

The proposed acquisition by Shuanghui International will receive a national security review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

Further, the House could take up its fiscal year 2014 agriculture appropriations bill (H.R. 2410) this week. The House gave its approval to an open rule on amendments June 26, but scheduling remains unclear.

Monday, July 8.

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 business with votes postponed until 6:30 p.m.

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Mink

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Crop Progress

5:00 p.m. The Senate will proceed to an executive session to consider the nomination of Gregory Alan Phillips to serve as U.S. Circuit Judge for the Tenth Circuit.

5:30 p.m. The Senate will vote on the confirmation of the Phillips nomination.

Tuesday, July 9.

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 markup of the Weather Forecasting Improvement Act (H.R. 2413) in 2318 Rayburn.

10:00 a.m. The House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a hearing on the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act (H.R. 1900) in 2322 Rayburn. The bill aims to provide U.S. families access to affordable and reliable energy by modernizing the application review process for natural gas pipeline projects.

12:00 p.m. The House will meet for legislative business to consider the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 2609).

1:00 p.m. The House Small Business Committee's Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access will hold a hearing on “American Competitiveness Worldwide: Impacts on Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs” in 2360 Rayburn.

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

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

Wednesday, July 10.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack will deliver keynote remarks to the annual meeting of the U.S. Agricultural Export Development Council in Arlington, Va.

Michael Scuse, acting agriculture deputy secretary, will give remarks at the Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc. roundtable on transatlantic trade and investment partnerships 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 to consider the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 2609).

2:30 p.m. The Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee will hold a hearing on “Smithfield and Beyond: Examining Foreign Purchases of American Food Companies” in 526 Dirksen. Scheduled witnesses include Larry Pope, president and chief executive officer of Smithfield Foods; Matthew Slaughter, faculty director of the Center for Global Business and Government; Usha Haley, professor at Robbins Center for Global Business and Strategy; and Daniel Slane, commissioner on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. 

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

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

Thursday, July 11.

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

9:00 a.m. The House will meet for legislative business, with last votes expected no later than 3:00 p.m.

10:00 a.m. The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law will hold a hearing on the Responsibly and Professionally Invigorating Development Act in 2141 Rayburn. The bill seeks to streamline the federal permitting process.

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: Cotton, Grains, Oilseeds, and World Agricultural Production Data

12:00 p.m. USDA Report: WASDE

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

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

Friday, July 12.

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

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