Washington Week Ahead: Focus on Trade, Port Infrastructure

By Daniel Enoch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, May 19, 2014 - President Obama has proclaimed this week as World Trade Week, shining a spotlight on several important commerce-related events in and around the nation's capital.

Firstly, all week long officials for the U.S. and Europe will be meeting in Arlington, Virginia, in the fifth round of negotiations aimed at forging a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union and creating one of the world's biggest free trade zones.

Also this week, the House of Representatives will take up the recently agreed to Conference Report to H.R. 3080, the $8.2 billion Water Resources Reform and Development Act, which would fund improvements and construction projects for the nation's ports and inland waterway system, facilitating movement of the nation's agricultural products to markets at home and abroad. The Senate may also consider the bill.

Note also that the agriculture subcommittees from both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees are scheduled to meet separately Tuesday to markup FY15 Agriculture Appropriations legislation.

Lets Talk Food

This week's tentative events on Capitol Hill and elsewhere in the Washington area include:

Monday, May 19.

The fifth round of negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) are being held this week in Arlington, Virginia.

USAID's Feed the Future Forum opens at the Marriott Crystal City Gateway Hotel in Arlington, Virginia, and runs through May 21. Speakers include USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, David Beckmann of Bread for the World, Former U.S. Senator Dick Lugar and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Four years of results from President Obama's Feed the Future initiative are being released on the forum's opening day.

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia will hear oral arguments on a motion to block USDA's country of origin rule for meat labels.

11 a.m. - Senate meets in pro forma session. No business will be conducted.

2 p.m. - House returns from recess for legislative session.

3 p.m. - USDA Milk Production report

4 p.m. - USDA weekly Crop Condition report

Tuesday, May 20.

10 a.m. - The House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business. Among the bills being considered under suspension of the rules is the Conference Report to H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act.

10 a.m. -The House Appropriations Committee's Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Subcommittee will meet to markup the 2015 agriculture appropriations bill. 2362A Rayburn.

10 a.m. - Senate meets in legislative session with morning business to run until 5:30 p.m.

10:15 a.m. - Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing to examine nominations of Cheryl LaFleur, of Massachusetts, and Norman Bay, of New Mexico, to be members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. 366 Dirksen.

10:30 a.m. - The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a hearing on issues involving FCC, including net neutrality. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is scheduled as the sole witness. 2123 Rayburn.

12 p.m. - the House will meet at 12 p.m. for morning hour and at 2:00 p.m. for legislative business. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 p.m.

2:30 p.m. The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions will hold a hearing to examine economic security for working women. 430 Dirksen.

12:30 p.m. - Senate Democratic policy luncheon.

3 p.m. - The Senate Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee will meet to markup the FY15 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.

Wednesday, May 21

The Organic Trade Association national policy conference opens at the Newseum in Washington. Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and Under Secretary Darci Vetter are scheduled to speak during 1 p.m.-2:45 p.m. session. To see full agenda, click here. OTA members will visit congressional offices on May 22.

10 a.m. - The House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business.

11 a.m.-4 p.m. - USTR will hold a Stakeholder Forum surrounding the fifth round of T-TIP negotiations in Arlington, Virginia. Stakeholder policy presentations run from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and are open to the press. From 3:15-4:30, chief negotiators for the U.S. and EU will brief stakeholders on status of negotiations.

12:30 p.m. Senate Republican policy luncheon.

2:15 p.m. Agriculture Secretary Vilsack speaks at USAID Feed the Future Forum in Arlington, Virginia.

3 p.m. - USDA Broiler Hatchery report.

Thursday, May 22.

8 a.m. - CropLife America opens day-long national policy conference at the Newseum in Washington. Click here for full agenda.

8:30 a.m. Chicago Council on Global Affairs hosts symposium on Global Food Security in the Face of Weather Volatility and Climate Change, at Ronald Reagan Building in Washington. Symposium opens with release of report: Advancing Global Food Security in a Changing Climate. Speakers include National Security Adviser Susan Rice, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Buffett Farms Nebraska President Howard Buffett. Click here for full agenda.

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

9:30 a.m. Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs subcommittee on transportation holds a hearing to examine bringing the nation's transit infrastructure to a state of good repair. 538 Dirksen.

10 a.m. The House Small Business Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade will conduct a hearing titled Unfair Trade Practices: Addressing Barriers Facing Small Business Exporters. 2360 Rayburn.

3 p.m. - USDA reports on Cold Storage, Farm Labor, Livestock Slaughter.

Friday, May 23.

Assistant USTR for Europe and the Middle East Dan Mullaney will participate in a press conference with EU Chief Negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero on status of T-TIP. Details to be announced.

The House and Senate are not in session.

12 noon - USDA reports on Chickens and Eggs, Peanut Prices.

#30

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