Washington Week Ahead: Congress focuses on Syria while farm bill push continues

By Derrick Cain

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Sept. 9, 2013 -While lawmakers will largely be focused on Syria this week, agricultural stakeholders will continue the push for congressional approval of a five-year farm bill.

On tap in the House is a nutrition title bill that will likely seek to cut $40 billion over 10 years from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The House leadership has not yet released the legislative language, but have outlined the parameters.

In a memo to House Republicans on Friday, House Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said the  Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act "restores the intent of the bipartisan welfare reforms adopted in 1996 by ensuring that work requirements for able-bodied adults without children are enforced - not waived - and eliminates loopholes exploited over the last few years to avoid the program's income and asset tests. It also empowers states to engage able-bodied parents in work and job training as part of receiving food stamps to help move them to self-sufficiency. Most importantly, no individual who meets the income and asset guidelines of the SNAP program and is willing to comply with applicable work requirements will lose benefits as a result of these reforms."
Cantor's memo included the nutrition bill in a list of actions the House will consider in September and October, but no specific timeline for the nutrition title was announced.

Several sources have said the bill could come up as early as next week. After that, the next step would be to conference the House-passed farm bill and its nutrition legislation with the Senate-passed farm bill.

Lets Talk Food

Meanwhile, the National Farmers Union (NFU) will hold its annual legislative fly-in today where it will press for farm bill passage. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack will deliver the keynote address.

In addition today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., will rock out at a press conference with Neil Young to push for farm bill passage and tout the benefits of renewable energy.

But most importantly, Agri-Pulse and AgriTalk are hosting a debate Thursday on the Renewable Fuel Standard, which will feature Bob Dinneen, chief executive officer of the Renewable Fuels Association and Colin Woodall, vice president for government affairs for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

The debate will be moderated by Agri-Pulse Editor Sara Wyant and  AgriTalk's Host Mike Adams.

Other events include:

Monday, Sept. 9.

Vilsack will address the annual legislative fly-in meeting of the National Farmers Union in Washington.

USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden will keynote the “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food, Know Your USDA” event in Chicago.

Deputy United States Trade Representative Michael Punke will attend a meeting of the World Trade Organization's General Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

2:00 p.m. The House will meet for legislative business, with votes postponed until 6:30 p.m. on the Global Investment in American Jobs Act (H.R. 2052) and the Federal Communications Commission Consolidation Act (H.R. 2844).

2:00 p.m. The Senate will convene for a period of morning business beginning with remarks from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

4:00 p.m. Reid, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., singer Neil Young, National Farmers Union president Roger Johnson and Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis will hold a press conference to urge passage of a five-year farm bill. The conference will be held in the Senate Park, C Street N.E. at 1st Street.

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

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

5:00 p.m. The Senate will consider two judicial nominations.

5:30 p.m. The Senate will vote on the nominations.

Tuesday, Sept. 10.

Vilsack will address the Growth Energy Advocacy Conference in Washington.

Deputy United States Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro will travel to Brazil for meetings with government officials and business leaders. She will give remarks on the U.S.-Brazil trade and investment partnership at the Sao Paulo Federation of Industries.   

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 Environment and the Economy will hold a hearing on “Implementing the Nuclear Waste Policy Act - Next Steps” in 2123 Rayburn.

10:30 a.m. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation will hold a hearing on “Maritime Transportation Regulations: Impacts on Safety, Security, Jobs and the Environment, Part 1” in 2167 Rayburn.

12:00 p.m. The House will meet for legislative business to consider several bills under suspension.

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

Wednesday, Sept. 11.

Vilsack will give remarks and sign a partnership agreement with several wood energy trade associations in Washington.

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

10:00 a.m. The House Natural Resources Committee's Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs will hold an oversight hearing on the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act in 1324 Longworth. 12:00 p.m. The House will meet for legislative business.

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

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

Thursday, Sept. 12.

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 Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee's Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging will hold a hearing on “Dental Crisis in America: The Need to Address Cost” in 430 Dirksen.

11:00 a.m. Agri-Pulse and AgriTalk host a debate on the Renewable Fuel Standard with Renewable Fuels Association CEO Bob Dinneen and Colin Woodall, vice president for government affairs for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association in 1300 Longworth.

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: Cotton: World Markets and Trade

12:00 p.m. USDA Report: Cotton Ginnings

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

12:00 p.m. USDA Report: Grains: World Markets and Trade

12:00 p.m. USDA Report: Oilseeds: World Markets and Trade

12:00 p.m. USDA Report: World Agricultural Production

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

Friday, Sept. 13.

Vilsack and Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell will join Coca-Cola's president Steve Cahillane to announce a public-private partnership to restore damaged watersheds on national lands in Wilmington, Ill.

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Raisins: World Markets and Trade

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

 

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