WASHINGTON, Oct. 9 —For many farmers and ranchers eager to expand export markets, this week could provide one of the biggest opportunities of the last decade. Both the House and Senate are scheduled to take up the three Free Trade Agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama, as well as the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) bill.
First initiated by President George W. Bush in 2006, the agreements were deep-sixed when Democrats recaptured both houses of Congress in 2007. President Barack Obama successfully renegotiated certain parts of the trade pacts in an attempt to win over reluctant labor unions and liberal members of his own party. The Administration also insisted on restoring expanded TAA benefits for any workers who may be displaced by the trade deals.
After months of wrangling with key lawmakers about the details and process, President Obama officially sent the trade legislation to Congress on Oct. 3. The bills, HR 3078, HR 3079 and HR3080, with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, respectively, will be considered under fast track authority, which requires an up or down vote within 90 days.
With growing concerns over the economy and the need to generate jobs, both parties appear poised to approve the pacts much more quickly than the 90 days allowed.
On Oct. 5, the House Ways and Means Committee quickly approved legislation that would implement the trade deals. Floor consideration is expected early this week.
In the Senate, Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., is scheduled to consider the trade pacts on Tuesday afternoon with Senate passage expected later in the week.
For other hearings and events this week, see the schedule below:
Monday, October 10
Both the House and Senate are out for the Columbus Day holiday
Tuesday, October 11
Both the House and Senate convene at 2 p.m. The Senate will consider a nomination for a district court judget and then vote on passage of the currency bill before voting to end debate on a version of Obama’s jobs bill.
The House will conclude work on the EPA regulatory relief Act and the rule governing debate on the pending trade pacts.
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack will speak at the Iowa State University Lecture Program World Affairs Series on global food security in Ames, IA.
9:00 a.m., Farm Foundation Forum: The Future Role of the Federal Government in Agricultural Risk Management, National Press Club, 529 14th Street NW, Washington, D.C.
4:00 p.m., Senate Committee on Finance. Consider S. 1641, a bill to implement the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement; S. 1642, a bill to implement the U.S-Korea Free Trade Agreement; S. 1643, a bill to implement the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement. 215 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
House to Begin Consideration of H.R. 3078 - United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act (Rep. Cantor - Ways and Means) (Subject to a Rule, 90 minutes of debate); H.R. 3079 - United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act (Rep. Cantor - Ways and Means) (Subject to a Rule, 90 minutes of debate); H.R. 3080 - United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (Rep. Cantor - Ways and Means) (Subject to a Rule, 90 minutes of debate)
Begin Consideration of the Motion to Concur in the Senate Amendment to H.R. 2832 - To extend the Generalized System of Preferences, and for other purposes (Rep. Camp - Ways and Means) (Subject to a Rule, 1 hour of debate)
Complete Consideration in the House of H.R. 2250 - EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011
Wednesday, October 12
House to complete Consideration of H.R. 3078 - United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act; H.R. 3079 - United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act H.R. 3080 - United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act.
Complete Consideration of the Motion to Concur in the Senate Amendment to H.R. 2832 - To extend the Generalized System of Preferences, and for other purposes.
10:00 a.m., House Committee on Energy and Commerce: Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade and the Subcommittee on Health. Joint Hearing: Food Marketing: Can "Voluntary" Government Restrictions Improve Children's Health? 2123 Rayburn HOB.
10:00 a.m. House Committee on Agriculture Hearing: To review legislative proposals amending Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. 1300 Longworth HOB.
10:00 a.m. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee: National Infrastructure Bank: More Bureaucracy and Red Tape, 2167 Rayburn House Office Building
2:30 p.m., Senate Committee on Approprations, Homeland Sec. Subc. Hearing on Disaster Recovery and Response: The Federal Role in Disaster Recovery and Response. Dirksen Senate Office Building 192.
2:30 p.m., Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing: Universal Service Reform-Bringing Broadband to All Americans. Russell Senate Office Building – 253.
Thursday, October 13
Secretary Vilsack will attend the World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines, IA. He will participate in a panel, “Sharing Agricultural Knowledge to Drive Sustainable Growth.”
Deputy Secretary Merrigan will tour a local market and co-op to highlight local agriculture production in Kansas City, MO and Lawrence, KS. She will also visit Kansas State University for a College Tour presentation while in Manhattan, KS.
10:00 a.m., House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight. Hearing: The Endangered Species Act. 2318 Rayburn HOB.
10:00 a.m., Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Subcommittee on Green Jobs and the New Economy hearing entitled, "Innovative Practices to Create Jobs and Reduce Pollution." EPW Hearing Room - 406 Dirksen.
Friday, October 14
Deputy Secretary Merrigan will visit a local school to celebrate National School Lunch Week and deliver remarks during the luncheon general session of the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit International Convention in Decatur, GA and Atlanta, GA.
9:00 a.m., Committee on Financial Services, Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises. Hearing: Legislative Proposals to Bring Certainty to the Over-the-Counter Derivatives Market. 2128 Rayburn HOB.
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