Washington Week Ahead: Farm bill conference questions loom

By Derrick Cain

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, July 15, 2013 - Agricultural stakeholders and lawmakers will be focused intensely this week on what is next for the farm bill after the House advanced a bill (H.R. 2642), which would strip the nutrition title from the rest of the farm policy legislation.

The bill needs to be conferenced with the Senate-passed farm bill, which does include Title IV provisions such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., is scheduled to hold a teleconference with reporters today to discuss a way forward. Because the House approved the legislation without a nutrition title, it is unclear how the bill can be conferenced with the Senate bill.

Despite assurances from several Republican lawmakers, many Democratic lawmakers are uncertain that House leadership will bring legislation with a nutrition title to the conference table. They are also uncertain that leadership will name conferees.

Also on the congressional radar is possible action on a House immigration bill that could affect farm workers. The Senate-passed bill includes provisions that seek to provide a path to legal status for undocumented farm workers and others.

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Notably, Stabenow's committee is scheduled to hold a hearing Wednesday on the reauthorization of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

“Reauthorizing the CFTC is an opportunity to examine these derivatives markets and weigh policy changes that would help protect markets and the public,” Stabenow said. “As ranking member [Thad] Cochran [R-Miss.] and I said earlier this year, this process will be transparent, bipartisan and consensus-driven.”

In addition, lawmakers are interested in furthering the debate on climate change.

On Thursday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on “Climate Change: It's Happening Now” and the House Small Business Committee's Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade will hold a hearing on “The President's Climate Action Plan: What is the Impact on Small Businesses?”

Other events include:

Monday, July 15.

Acting USDA deputy secretary Michael Scuse will speak at the National Association of Conservation Districts Legislative Conference.

10:00 a.m. The House will meet in pro forma session and no votes are expected.

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

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

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

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

2:00 p.m. The Senate will convene for a period of morning business until 5:30 p.m. and then proceed to an unspecified roll call vote.

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

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

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

6:00 p.m. The Senate will hold an all-Senate joint conference in the Old Senate Chamber.

Tuesday, July 16.

10:00 a.m. USDA Report: Meat Price Spreads

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

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: Dairy: World Markets and Trade

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Bioenergy Data

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

5:00 p.m. The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a markup on several bills including H.R. 1900, which aims to speed up gas pipeline construction, in 2123 Rayburn.

Wednesday, July 17.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack will address the National Corn Growers Association 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.

1:00 p.m. USDA Report: Livestock, Dairy & Poultry Outlook

2:30 p.m. The Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee will hold a hearing on the reauthorization of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in 216 Hart.

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Announcement of Advanced Prices and Pricing Factors

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

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Noncitrus Fruits and Nuts - Ann.

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

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Sugar & Sweeteners Outlook

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

Thursday, July 18.

Vilsack will join with Gov. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., and Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius at the opening of the new Leprion Foods Manufacturing Plant in Greeley, Colo.

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

9:30 a.m. The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on “Spurring Investment in America's Clean Energy Technology” in 366 Dirksen.

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

10:00 a.m. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on “Climate Change: It's Happening Now” in 406 Dirksen.

10:00 a.m. The House Small Business Committee's Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade will hold a hearing on “The President's Climate Action Plan: What is the Impact on Small Businesses?” in 2360 Rayburn.

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

Friday, July 19.

Vilsack will announce a federal, local and private collaboration aimed to reduce the risks of wildfire to critical water resource infrastructure in Bellvue, Colo.

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

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Cattle on Feed

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Milk Production

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Catfish Production

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Cattle

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

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