Washington Week Ahead: Budget talks set to resume

By Derrick Cain

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Nov. 11, 2013 -Negotiations over how to find some common ground on an new five-year farm bill are expected to intensify this week as lawmakers nervously eye the end of year calendar. Without any substantial progress on the commodity title and other controversial areas, the possibility of another extension continues to loom in the background.

Back in Oklahoma for district visits last week, House Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas said Friday he remains optimistic a farm bill will be passed this session.

“I'm an Oklahoma wheat farmer. I am eternally optimistic that we will get it done. It's in the DNA,” Lucas told the Stillwater News Press.

In his home state, Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, paid a visit to the Texas Tech campus Friday and told LubbockOnline.com he was confident the House and the Senate could reach an agreement on the heavily-debated farm bill by Dec. 15.

 If Conaway's forecast is correct, the farm bill would be done just in time to see if it could be included as part of a larger budget package.

The House Budget Committee and the Senate Budget Committee will hold their second congressional conference over the budget Wednesday with Congressional Budget Office director Doug Elmendorf giving a briefing on CBO's economic outlook.

Lets Talk Food

Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., signaled her willingness to compromise in an opinion piece published in Sunday's Washington Post.

“I am willing to meet Republicans halfway and make some compromises when it comes to additional spending reductions. Democrats won't agree to irresponsible cuts that hurt seniors and families, but we can find responsible savings across the federal budget to get to a fair deal,” Murry wrote.

“Compromise, however, runs both ways. While we scour programs to identify savings, Republicans have to work with us to scour the bloated tax code and close loopholes used by the wealthiest Americans and corporations to replace the other half of sequestration.”

In addition, the Senate chose its conferees last week for the water resources development reauthorization legislation (H.R. 3080), (S. 601). House leadership could name their conferees this week for the largely bipartisan legislation, which seeks to authorize funding to modernize the nation's locks and dams, provide upkeep for rivers and coasts, assist with flood protection, and restore key environmental areas.

Further, Republican lawmakers are expected to step up their attacks on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, with a series of hearings scheduled in the House this week.

The week's tentative events include:

Monday, Nov. 11.

No U.S. events scheduled in observation of Veterans Day.

The second round of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) negotiations begins today in Brussels and runs until Friday.

Tuesday, Nov. 12.

Isi Siddiqui, chief agricultural negotiator at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and USDA undersecretary Michael Scuse, will co-chair meetings of the joint commission on commerce and trade sanitary and phytosanitary working group in Beijing. The meetings run from today to Thursday.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will deliver remarks at the annual meeting of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities in Washington, D.C.

U.S. negotiators will participate in intersessional Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) meetings on legal and institutional issues in Washington, D.C. through Thursday.

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.

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Crop Progress

4:30 p.m. The Senate will proceed to an executive session to consider a judicial nomination.

5:00 p.m. The House Rules Committee will meet on asbestos legislation (H.R. 982) and lawsuit reduction legislation (H.R. 2665) in the Capitol H-313.

5:30 p.m. The Senate will proceed to a cloture vote on the judicial nomination. If cloture is not invoked on the nomination, the Senate will proceed to a legislative session and hold a procedural vote on the Drug Quality and Security Act (H.R. 3204).

Wednesday, Nov. 13.

The National Association of Farm Broadcasters Conference kicks off and many Washington insiders will travel to Kansas City today to take part in the organization's annual Trade Talk on Thursday morning.

Vilsack will participate in a one-on-one question and answer session focused on the farm bill at the Atlantic Ideas Forum in Washington, D.C.

9:30 a.m. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on “Obamacare Implementation: The Rollout of HealthCare.gov” in 2154 Rayburn.

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

10:00 a.m. The House Budget Committee and the Senate Budget Committee will hold a conference meeting with Congressional Budget Office director Doug Elmendorf giving a briefing on CBO's budget and economic outlook. The public meeting will be in 1100 Longworth.

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

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

1:00 p.m. USDA Report: Wheat Outlook

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

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

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Rice Outlook

Thursday, Nov. 14.

Deputy Agriculture Secretary Krysta Harden will visit the University of Maryland Eastern Shore to meet with university officials, students, farmers and agriculture leaders to discuss USDA priorities and the importance of a farm bill.

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

10:00 a.m. The House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on “Obamacare Implementation Problems: More than Just a Broken Website” in 2322 Rayburn.

10:00 a.m. The House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on “Strengthening Transparency and Accountability within the Environmental Protection Agency” in 2318 Rayburn. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is scheduled to testify.

10:00 a.m. The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a markup of several bills in 1324 Longworth.

The bills include:

·        H.R. 1308, To amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 to reduce predation on endangered Columbia River salmon and other non-listed species, and for other purposes.

·        H.R. 2798, To amend Public Law 106-206 to direct the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to require annual permits and assess annual fees for commercial filming activities on Federal land for film crews of 5 persons or fewer.

·        H.R. 3188, To expedite the planning and implementation of salvage timber sales as part of Forest Service and Department of the Interior restoration and rehabilitation activities for lands within the Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park and Bureau of Land Management lands adversely impacted by the 2013 Rim Fire in California.

·        H.R. 3189, To prohibit the conditioning of any permit, lease, or other use agreement on the transfer, relinquishment, or other impairment of any water right to the United States by the secretaries of the interior and agriculture.

10:30 a.m. The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee's Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard will hold a hearing on “Southeast Regional Perspectives on Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization” in 253 Russell.

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

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

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

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Bioenergy Data

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Latest U.S. Agricultural Trade Data

Friday, Nov. 15.

Vilsack will address the National Association of Farm Broadcasters at their 70th national convention in Kansas City, Mo.

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 Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on the status of FDA's progress on the implementation of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA) in 2322 Rayburn.

10:00 a.m. USDA Report: Livestock & Meat International Trade Data

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

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Peanut Prices

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

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Meat Price Spreads

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: U.S. Agricultural Trade Data Update

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

Updated Nov. 11, 12:39 p.m.

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