The Ocean Shipping Reform Act, a bill intended to unlock port bottlenecks that have snarled shipments of many farm commodities, gets a vote in the Senate Commerce Committee this week, while the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold hearings on Ketanji Brown Jackson's nomination to the Supreme Court.

In another move important to resolving supply chain issues, the Senate this week will take a key step to begin negotiations with the House on a sprawling bill to increase American competitiveness on the world stage. The Senate will take a procedural motion to swap the House text with its text and send it back to the House, triggering a conference, where negotiators will work out the differences between the two bills.

The House bill includes that chamber’s more stringent version of OSRA, while the Senate version does not. 

Senate Commerce Chairwoman Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., has previously said advancing the Senate version as a stand-alone bill will allow it to serve as a negotiating position with the House.

While both bills seek to end the practice of containers leaving ports empty, there are key differences between the two versions. The House version is more prescriptive, explicitly mandating more provisions on ocean carriers. The Senate version does not include some of those provisions.

Farm groups remain hopeful some version of OSRA will end up in the final competitiveness package, despite only being in one bill. South Dakota Republican Rep. Dusty Johnson, a co-sponsor of the House bill, said there will be “no red lines” in negotiating with the Senate.

The Judiciary Committee has scheduled hearings Monday through Thursday on Jackson, President Joe Biden's first nominee to the Supreme Court.

Jackson, a judge on the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, would replace the retiring Justice Stephen Breyer. The D.C. Circuit directly handles challenges to federal regulations. 

Jackson, who spent seven years as a district judge before the Senate approved her for a seat on the D.C. Circuit last year, doesn’t have an extensive record on agricultural issues and hasn’t authored any opinions at the appeals court. But as a federal district judge, she issued a decision in 2013 upholding country-of-origin-labeling (COOL) regulations that had been challenged by the meat industry. (The D.C. Circuit affirmed her ruling the next year, but Congress rescinded COOL requirements for beef and pork in 2015.)

Tuesday is National Agriculture Day. Events this year will include the annual, all-day Agri-Pulse Ag and Food Policy Summit on Monday. On Monday and Tuesday, dozens of companies, organizations and farmers will showcase the latest innovations in equipment and farming practices on the National Mall, starting Monday and continuing Tuesday. 

The exhibition, dubbed a “Celebration of Modern Agriculture,” will include everything from a robotic milking system to a self-propelled sprayer that enables precise product placement.

Leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committee and Deputy Agriculture Secretary Jewel Bronaugh will keynote the Agri-Pulse summit, headlined “Laying the Groundwork for the Next Farm Bill.”

Summit panels will feature farm leaders and experts from across the supply chain who will address several critical farm bill issues, including commodity and conservation programs, climate policy, equity and inclusion, and nutrition assistance. 

Also this week, the Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to propose rules requiring companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions. 

The big question for agriculture is whether and to what extent corporations in the food and apparel sector would be required to disclose their scope 3 emissions, which include emissions from producing the commodities that they process or market. If and when the SEC does require disclosure of such emissions it will almost certainly bring added pressure on farmers to reduce their carbon footprint. 

Here is a list of agriculture- or rural-related events scheduled for this week in Washington and elsewhere (all times EDT):

Monday, March 21

Agri-Pulse Ag and Food Policy Summit, National Press Club.

“Celebration of Modern Agriculture” exhibition on the National Mall, through Tuesday.

11 a.m. — Senate Judiciary Committee begins hearings on the nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court, 216 Hart. 

Tuesday, March 22

National Ag Day. 

9 a.m. — Senate Judiciary hearing on the nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson nomination, 216 Hart. 

10 a.m. — Senate Agriculture Committee hearing, “Rural Quality of Life: Opportunities and Challenges for the Rural Care Economy,” 562 Dirksen.

10 a.m. — Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee meeting to consider the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, 253 Russell.

3 p.m. — Resources for the Future holds a webinar on “examining US court cases that will play a large role in determining the future of US climate policy and environmental regulation.”

Wednesday, March 23

9 a.m. — Senate Judiciary hearing on the nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson nomination, 216 Hart. 

10 a.m. — Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on “promoting American energy security by facilitating investments and innovation in climate solutions,” 406 Dirksen.

2 p.m. — The Washington International Trade Association and Institute for International Economic Policy will hold a hybrid webinar with former Rep. James Bacchus on how the WTO “can survive and will continue to succeed but only if the trade links among WTO members are revitalized and reimagined.” 

Thursday, March 24

8:30 a.m. — USDA releases Weekly Export Sales report.

9 a.m. — Senate Judiciary hearing on the nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson nomination, 216 Hart. 

Friday, March 25

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