WASHINGTON, DEC. 16, 2012 – Behind-the-scenes talks focused on avoiding the fiscal cliff and possibly the “farm cliff” are expected to continue this week, but one of the biggest public events focusing on agriculture will be hosted in a somewhat unusual venue.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Chamber Foundation will co-host a star-studded program highlighting the innovations and emerging opportunities that today’s agriculture industry are presenting, according to a Chamber promotion on the event.

U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue will host U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Cargill Chairman and CEO Gregory R. Page, and other leading business executives. A U.S. Chamber paper, to be released at the forum, will highlight agriculture’s importance to the U.S. economy and showcase examples of U.S. corporate innovation.

Secretary Vilsack is expected to continue discussing some of the themes, including whether or not Rural America is still relevant, which he raised during a Farm Journal Forum two weeks ago. Other speakers include:

·         Tom Donohue, President & CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

·         The Honorable Margaret Spellings, President, U.S. Forum for Policy Innovation

·         The Honorable Darci Vetter, Deputy Under Secretary, Foreign Agriculture Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture

·         Gregory R. Page, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Cargill

·         Jerry Steiner, Executive Vice President for Sustainability & Corporate Affairs, Monsanto

·         Peter G. Klein, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Applied Social Sciences & Director of the McQuinn Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, University of Missouri 

·         Nick Schulz, Editor-in-Chief, American.com; DeWitt Wallace Fellow, American Enterprise Institute 

·         Jerry Roell, Director, John Deere FarmSight™ & John Deere WorkSight™, John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group

·         Blake Hurst, President, Missouri Farm Bureau

·         Charles F. (Chuck) Conner, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives

·         Scott A. Vitters, General Manager, PlantBottle Packaging, The Coca-Cola Company

For other events this week, see the schedule below:


Monday, December 17

Secretary Vilsack will host a live Twitter chat on the important role of rural America to the national and global economy, increasing agricultural opportunities in U.S. communities, and the importance of passing a five-year Farm Bill.


On Monday, the House will meet at 12:00 p.m. for Morning Hour debate and 2:00 p.m. for legislative business, with votes postponed until 6:30 p.m.

Suspensions (2 bills)

  1. H.R. 4606 – To authorize the issuance of right–of–way permits for natural gas pipelines in Glacier National Park, and for other purposes (Rep. Rehberg – Natural Resources)

  2. S. 3193 – Barona Band of Mission Indians Land Transfer Clarification Act of 2012 (Sen. Feinstein – Natural Resources)


 Tuesday, December 18

  On Tuesday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for Morning Hour debate and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business.

Suspensions (16 bills)

  1. H.R. 6612 – To redesignate the Dryden Flight Research Center as the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center and the Western Aeronautical Test Range as the Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical (Rep. McCarthy (CA) – Science, Space and Technology)

  2. H.R. 6633 – To designate the United States courthouse located at 101 East Pecan Street in Sherman, Texas, as the "Paul Brown United States Courthouse" (Rep. Hall – Transportation and Infrastructure)

  3. H.R. 6166 – To designate the United States courthouse located at 333 West Broadway Street in San Diego, California, as the "James M. Carter and Judith N. Keep United States Courthouse" (Rep. Davis (CA) – Transportation and Infrastructure)

  4. S. 3311 – A bill to designate the United States courthouse located at 2601 2nd Avenue North, Billings, Montana, as the "James F. Battin United States Courthouse" (Sen. Baucus – Transportation and Infrastructure)

  5. H.R. 3197 – To name the Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in Spokane, Washington, as the "Mann–Grandstaff Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center" (Rep. McMorris Rodgers – Veterans’ Affairs)

  6. H.R. 6443 – To designate the facility of the Department of Veterans Affairs located at 9800 West Commercial Boulevard in Sunrise, Florida, as the "William 'Bill' Kling VA Clinic" (Rep. Wasserman Schultz – Veterans’ Affairs)

  7. H.R. 3869 – To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 600 East Capitol Avenue in Little Rock, Arkansas, as the "Sidney 'Sid' Sanders McMath Post Office Building" (Rep. Griffin – Oversight and Government Reform)

  8. H.R. 3378 – To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 220 Elm Avenue in Munising, Michigan, as the "Elizabeth L. Kinnunen Post Office Building" (Rep. Benishek – Oversight and Government Reform)

  9. H.R. 4389 – To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 19 East Merced Street in Fowler, California, as the "Cecil E. Bolt Post Office" (Rep. Costa – Oversight and Government Reform)

  10. H.R. 6016 – Government Employee Accountability Act (Rep. Kelly – Oversight and Government Reform)

  11. S. 3564 – Public Interest Declassification Board Reauthorization Act of 2012 (Sen. Lieberman – Oversight and Government Reform)

  12. S. 2170 – Hatch Act Modernization Act of 2012 (Sen. Akaka – Oversight and Government Reform)

  13. H.R. 6621 – To correct and improve certain provisions of the Leahy–Smith America Invents Act and title 35, United States Code, as amended (Rep. Smith (TX) – Judiciary)

  14. H.R. 2471 – To amend section 2710 of title 18, United States Code, to clarify that a video tape service provider may obtain a consumer’s informed, written consent on an ongoing basis and that consent may be obtained through the Internet, as amended (Rep. Goodlatte – Judiciary)

  15. H.R. 6014 – Katie Sepich Enhanced DNA Collection Act of 2012, as amended (Rep. Schiff – Judiciary)

  16. S. 3642 – Theft of Trade Secrets Clarification Act of 2012 (Sen. Leahy – Judiciary)


9:30 am, Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs: Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance and Investment, Hearings to examine computerized trading venues, focusing on what should the rules of the road be, SD-538   





Wednesday, December 19

Secretary Vilsack will deliver keynote remarks entitled “New Markets, New Understanding and Unlimited Opportunity” at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce forum in Washington, D.C. The forum is part of the Chamber’s Business Horizon Series and is focused on growing innovation and opportunity in agriculture. Secretary Vilsack’s keynote will discuss innovation in the U.S. agriculture sector, along with the unlimited economic potential of rural America in the years to come.


10:00 am, Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs: Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection, Hearings to examine consumer credit reports, SD-538        







On Wednesday and Thursday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for Morning Hour debate and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business. On Friday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business.

Suspensions (5 bills)

  1. H.R. 6504 – Small Business Investment Company Modernization Act (Rep. Chabot – Transportation and Infrastructure)

  2. H.R. 1509 – Medicare Identity Theft Prevention Act of 2011, as amended (Rep. Johnson (TX) – Ways and Means)

  3. H.R. 1845 – Medicare IVIG Access Act, as amended (Rep. Brady (TX) – Ways and Means)

  4. Senate Amendment to H.R. 3783 – Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act of 2012 (Rep. Duncan – Foreign Affairs)

  5. S. 3331 – Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 (Sen. Kerry – Foreign Affairs)

Hearing: "Challenges Facing Multiemployer Pension Plans: Evaluating PBGC's Insurance Program and Financial Outlook" House Committee on Education and the Workforce: Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions


Thursday, December 20


11:00 am, Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs: Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation and Community Development



Hearings to examine recovering from superstorm Sandy, focusing on rebuilding our infrastructure, SD-538



9:00 am Senate Committee on Foreign Relations



Hearings to examine Benghazi, focusing on the attacks and the lessons learned, SH-216


Friday, December 21

No public events currently scheduled.