The House is set today to clear the Senate-passed Ocean Shipping Reform Act, which empowers the Federal Maritime Commission to take steps to clear port bottlenecks and reduce shipping rates. House passage will send the measure to President Biden for his signature. 

The bill isn’t quite as strong as a version the House passed earlier, but Biden is pitching it as a way to help control inflation. During an appearance at the Port of Los Angeles on Friday, Biden said major shipping companies had raised rates up to 1,000% and increased profits seven-fold.

By the way: The House Rules Committee meets this afternoon to prepare the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act for floor debate. That legislation is a package of seven bills related to agriculture and biofuels, including a controversial measure that would create a special investigator’s office in USDA’s Packers and Stockyards Division.

SEC urged to drop disclosure plan

Some 32 Republican senators are calling on the Securities and Exchange Commission to withdraw a proposed rule that would require publicly traded companies to track and disclose greenhouse gas emissions in their supply chains.

In a letter to the SEC, the senators claim the disclosure requirements ultimately impose “a major reporting burden” on many farmers.

“Should the SEC move forward with this rule, it would be granted unprecedented jurisdiction over America’s farms and ranches, creating an impractical regulatory burden for thousands of businesses outside of the scope of the SEC’s purview, including our nation’s farmers and ranchers,” the letter says.

Defenders of the rule claim the concerns about the reporting burden are overstated.

Friday is the deadline for filing comments on the proposal.

For more on this week’s D.C. agenda, read our Washington Week Ahead.

NPPC, AFBF submit brief challenging Prop 12 to Supreme Court

The National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation filed a brief challenging California’s animal housing law with the Supreme Court on Friday.

The brief argues California’s Proposition 12 ballot initiative, which would ban the sale of pork from hogs raised anywhere in the U.S. without minimum square-feet requirements, violates the Constitution’s dormant Commerce Clause by imposing an excessive burden on interstate commerce.

More than 99% of the pork consumed in California comes from other states, NPPC and AFBF said.

The case made its way to the Supreme Court after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against NPPC and AFBF last July. There is no court date set currently, but NPPC Assistant Vice President and General Counsel Michael Formica told Agri-Pulse that he expects the arguments to take place in October or early November. 

WOTUS roundtable today looks at arid Southwest

The latest regional roundtable looking at the federal government’s regulation of “waters of the U.S.” under the Clean Water Act, scheduled today, will be the second to focus on the arid Southwest.

One farm is included in the roster of groups, companies and government agencies slated to speak at the virtual roundtable, which kicks off at 3 pm Eastern Time and has been organized by Amigos Bravos, a New Mexico environmental group.

US makes limiting food export bans a priority at WTO summit

The World Trade Organization on Sunday kicked off its 12th Ministerial Conference, commonly known as MC12, in Geneva, and a top priority for the U.S. is an agreement to ban export restrictions on food that the World Food Program needs to acquire for humanitarian aid.

It’s a proposed resolution that’s been debated at the WTO for years and has gained strength as more nations recently began shutting off exports of grain, vegetable oil and other commodities to counteract the impacts of Ukraine’s inability to supply the global market during the Russian invasion.

“We think this is something that … needs to happen,” a senior U.S. trade official told reporters ahead of the MC12.

USTR nudges IPEF nations to join trade pillar

In Paris Saturday, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai urged officials from the 13 countries that have pledged to join the Biden administration’s Indo-Pacific Economic Framework to sign up for negotiations under the deal’s trade pillar.

IPEF member countries can choose which of the four pillars they want to join, with one being the minimum.

The framework has come under fire from many in the U.S. ag sector for not including the potential for tariff-slashing market access deals. The 13 countries that have signed up to the U.S.-led effort to counter Chinese expansion in the region include:  Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Fiji.

Former Interior Secretary wins GOP primary in Montana’s newest district
Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has officially won the Republican primary for Montana’s newly drawn first district after capturing 42% of the vote.
Zinke beat out former Montana state senator Al “Doc” Olszewski by two percentage points for the chance to compete for Montana’s newest House seat. This is the first time in over 20 years that Montana is able to send two representatives to the U.S. House.
Zinke resigned from his post as Secretary of the Interior in 2018, amid a number of scandals and an ethics investigation by the department’s Office of the Inspector General. He will face Democrat Monica Tranel in in November’s general election.
They said it: “Proposition 12 … governs the housing conditions of sows located almost exclusively outside of California” – National Pork Producers Council and American Farm Bureau Federation, in their brief to the Supreme Court.
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