Senate Republicans are expected to have a counterproposal on infrastructure spending by Tuesday that should have more details and could be larger than their initial $600 billion offer.
It’s not at all clear whether Republicans can ever get to a deal with President Biden on how to pay for an infrastructure, much less what should be in it.
At a news conference Friday White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested as a possible compromise Biden’s proposal to target corporations and high-income individuals for tax enforcement. The White House claims that could raise $700 billion over 10 years. Biden “is open to a range of ideas, including ones he didn’t propose,” she said.
Take note: Lawmakers will debate possible infrastructure funding sources at a pair of hearings this week, one in the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday and another in the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday. We expect discussion during both hearings on Biden’s proposal to end stepped-up basis and tax capital gains at death.
For more on this week’s D.C. agenda, read our Washington Week Ahead.
Farm groups press USTR to appoint chief ag negotiator
One key political office still empty at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is that of the chief agriculture negotiator – a deputy-USTR-level position – and ag groups are letting the Biden administration know they want it filled.
“Key to the economic viability of our working farmers and ranchers is a fair income, and key to their income is the need to export approximately 20 percent of overall U.S. agricultural production,” ag groups said in the letter sent to USTR Katherine Tai on Friday.
“Because of the pressing importance of improved and expanded market access for U.S. food and agriculture we request that you move swiftly to nominate an individual to serve as the Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.”
The 62 groups who signed the letter represent a broad cross-section of the food and ag sector, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Milk Producers Federation, National Cotton Council, Corn Refiners Association, Sweetener Users Association, American Feed Industry Association, U.S. Wheat Associates, National Chicken Council and many others.
US dairy presses USTR for action against Canada
Tai begins two days of USMCA meetings today with her Canadian and Mexican counterparts, and the U.S. dairy sector is pressing hard for the Biden administration to use the opportunity to confront Canada over claims that the country is misusing the dairy quotas it agreed to under the trade pact.
The U.S. Dairy Export Council, National Milk Producers Federation and dozens of other dairy groups and companies from across the country sent a letter to Tai Friday, asking her to make the quota dispute a priority during the first annual USMCA meeting.
“Unless Canada agrees during the USMCA Free Trade Commission to reform its dairy TRQ measures to resolve the flaws identified by the United States, we ask the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to take additional enforcement actions under USMCA to bring Canada into full compliance with its USMCA commitments,” the U.S. dairy representatives said in the letter.
“We ask that USTR request the establishment of a Dispute Settlement Panel in the event there is not an immediate, positive resolution reached in the consultations with Canada, particularly in light of the new dairy TRQ year beginning July 1.”
Syngenta, Valagro won’t pursue deal with Italian biostimulant maker
Syngenta and Valagro have decided not to pursue a transaction with biostimulant maker SICIT Group, the companies announced Friday.
Syngenta and biologicals maker Valagro said they “continue to be impressed with the SICIT Group team, business and products” but that unspecified “circumstances” have made it difficult “to develop a reasonable path forward for a transaction.”
Syngenta acquired Valagro last year.
Memphis bridge closure underscores needed infrastructure investments
An agricultural transportation leader says a crack in the bridge over the Mississippi River proves key investments in infrastructure are critical for the supply chain.
“We had a very crystal-clear relatable example of when you don’t make these needed investments in our infrastructure, some really painful things can happen,” Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition told Agri-Pulse.
All barge traffic on the river was halted after a crack on the bridge leading into Memphis, Tennessee from Arkansas was discovered last Tuesday. The U.S. Coast Guard announced Friday that barge traffic could resume, reopening a major artery for U.S. corn and soybeans that are exported through the Gulf of Mexico.
She said it. “The president's pledge and his commitment, his line in the sand, his red line - whatever you want to call it - is that he will not raise taxes for people making less than $400,000 a year. User fees that have been proposed out there would violate that.” - White House press secretary Jen Psaki, ruling out a compromise with Republicans on the use of gas taxes or other user fees to pay for infrastructure spending.
Republicans, on the other hand, oppose rolling back any of the corporate and individual tax cuts passed in 2017.
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