President Biden today will sign into law the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, and he’s promising to make sure the money will be spent properly. 
Biden announced Sunday he would appoint former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu as the senior adviser responsible for overseeing distribution of the funding, which will start in coming months. “One of our biggest responsibilities is to make sure all the money is used efficiently and effectively,” Biden said at a Cabinet meeting on Friday. 
Why it matters: The legislation includes $550 billion in new funding for a range of needs for agriculture and rural America, including broadband, ports and inland waterways, roads and bridges and Western water projects. 
Keep in mind: In signing the bill into law, Biden will be raising the stakes for progressives in Congress who had tried to delay passage of the legislation until they were sure that Biden’s larger Build Back Better spending package would also pass. 
House moderates agreed to vote for the Build Back Better bill this week so long as the official cost estimates for the bill are in line with the White House’s projections. The Congressional Budget Office released estimates for a few sections of the bill last week, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says in a “dear colleague” letter that the CBO will issue three additional reports today. 
For more about this week’s agenda in D.C., read our Washington Week Ahead. 
Biden not expected to talk tariffs, supply chain in Xi meeting

President Joe Biden will be meeting virtually for several hours with Chinese President Xi Jinping tonight, but he is not expected to bring up the trade war, tariffs or supply chain problems, according to a senior Biden administration official who briefed reporters Sunday night.

That’s likely to disappoint many in the U.S. ag sector that depend on a stable trade relationship with China, a major importer of U.S. soybeans, corn, beef, pork, poultry and many other commodities. China is still exempting its importers from tariffs on many U.S. ag commodities, but that process is linked to the “phase one” trade deal, part of which comes to an end Dec. 31.

The agreement included promises by China to buy about $80 billion worth of U.S. farm commodities over a two-year period, but that ends this year and many in the U.S. ag sector are hoping the deal can be extended.

Stay of vaccine requirement for businesses welcomed by industry

Industry groups praised the decision by a federal appeals court late Friday that maintained its stay on implementation of the government’s vaccine requirement for private businesses of 100 or more employees.

The Emergency Temporary Standard, or ETS, from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration would require employees to get shots for COVID-19 or take weekly tests and use face masks at work. Employers have to have plans in place by Dec. 5.

FMI-the Food Industry Association, which represents a wide range of companies in the food supply chain, including retailers and distributors, and which petitioned for the stay, said the “pause” will give it more time to “seek clarity on elements of concern,” such as the availability of tests, President and CEO Leslie Sarasin said.

“FMI remains concerned with the potentially harmful impact the ETS will have on American consumers and the food supply chain if implemented, as written, during the busiest grocery shopping season of the year,” she added.

The National Retail Federation said the court had “recognized that the ETS presents an incredible and unprecedented burden on millions of businesses across the country.”

Maybe not the last word: Litigation is pending in other courts, and the government argues a multicircuit lottery should decide where to consolidate the cases.

FDA meeting focuses on baby foods containing heavy metals

The Food and Drug Administration has released the agenda for the first public meeting next week on its Closer to Zero plan to lower limits for cadmium, mercury, arsenic and lead in baby foods.

The Thursday, Nov. 18 meeting will feature presentations from FDA officials on next steps for Closer to Zero and include panels with researchers on childhood exposure to toxics

The House Oversight and Reform Committee issued reports in February and September finding that heavy metals exceeded FDA action levels in some baby foods and recommended that FDA “accelerate its proposed timelines for publishing final limits for these toxic heavy metals and require companies to conduct finished-product testing.”

The FDA plan contemplates proposing and finalizing action levels for toxic elements over the next three years. First in line — some time before April — would be draft levels for lead.
Food Research & Action Center adds lobbyist

The Food Research & Action Center has named a new senior lobbyist, Vijay Das, to lead its legislative efforts in Washington, D.C. 

Das was, most recently, senior campaign strategist at the public policy think tank Demos and a healthcare advocate at Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. He’s also been a policy fellow for the California Attorney General and in the U.S. Senate.

FRAC works to eradicate poverty-related hunger and undernutrition in the United States.

US and Japan begin talks to end metal tariffs

The U.S. and Japan have begun talks to end an irritation in the otherwise strong trading relationship – U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Japan. The U.S. recently agreed to end its metal tariffs on the European Union, and the new talks with Japan fall in line with the Biden administration’s efforts to strengthen its ties with allies and confront China over its trade practices.

The U.S. and EU both blame China for an excess of steel and aluminum on the global market. The U.S. does not import much directly from China, but officials say the metal makes its way into the U.S. through third countries.

U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports remain firm, and the Chinese continue to retaliate with tariffs on U.S. ag commodities like pork.

Questions? Tips? Comments? Email Bill Tomson at