WASHINGTON, April 15, 2013 – As lawmakers presumably pay their taxes today, agriculture stakeholders will be closely watching this week for the introduction of a comprehensive immigration reform package that looks to reshape the farm worker program.

An apparent agreement between a group of senators, labor unions and farm groups includes a plan to replace the current H-2A program, and to provide a path to legal status for undocumented farm workers.

The new program would set a formula by which wages for the workers would increase each year with a cap and a floor. It would set a cap of 112,000 3-year visas each year.

Actual legislative language is expected soon from Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

Meanwhile, the Senate is expected to consider gun control legislation while the House is likely to focus largely on cyber security.

Several congressional committees are scheduled to hold a slew of hearings on President Obama’s budget request for USDA agencies.

Two House committees will look to advance legislation that would approve the controversial Keystone pipeline project.

All of this is happening as another debt ceiling debate approaches.

Other events include:

Monday, April 15.

USDA Secretary Vilsack will join Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to make an announcement regarding biofuels in the aviation industry at the 2013 Advanced Biofuels Summit at the Gaylord National Harbor.

12:00 p.m. The House will meet for morning hour debate.

2:00 p.m. The House will meet for legislative business.

2:00 p.m. The Senate will convene for morning business.

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Hatchery Production

5:00 p.m. The Senate will proceed to an executive session to consider two judicial nominations.

Tuesday, April 16.

10:00 a.m. The House will meet for morning hour debate.

10:00 a.m. The House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies will hold a hearing on the agriculture budget in 2362-A Rayburn. Scheduled witnesses include Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, USDA chief economist Joseph Glauber, and USDA budget officer Michael Young.

10:00 a.m. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the administration’s proposed FY 2014 budget for the U.S. Forest Service in 366 Dirksen. Thomas Tidwell, chief of the U.S. Forest Service, is the scheduled witness.

10:00 a.m. The House Budget Committee will hold a hearing on the president’s FY 2014 revenue and economic policy proposals in 210 Cannon. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew is the scheduled witness.

10:00 a.m. USDA Report: Meat Price Spreads

10:00 a.m. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment will hold a hearing on “The Foundations for a New Water Resources Development Act” in 2167 Rayburn.

12:00 p.m. The House will meet for legislative business.

1:00 p.m. USDA Report: Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook

2:00 p.m. The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a markup on H.R. 3, which would approve construction of the Keystone pipeline, in 2123 Rayburn.

2:00 p.m. The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold a markup of H.R. 3, which would approve construction of the Keystone pipeline, in 1334 Longworth.

2:00 p.m. The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Subcommittee on Oversight will hold a joint hearing in 2318 Rayburn on “Assessing the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Wind Energy Incentives.” Scheduled witnesses include Frank Rusco, director of the Government Accountability Office’s Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Michaels, economics professor at California State University, Audra Parker, president of Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, and Robert Gramlich, interim chief executive officer of the American Wind Energy Association.

2:00 p.m. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the president’s FY 2014 budget request for the Coast Guard and maritime transportation programs in 2167 Rayburn.

2:30 p.m. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Water and Power will hold a hearing in 366 Dirksen on the following bills:

  • S. 211, the Provo River Project Transfer Act
  • S. 284, the Fort Sumner Project Title Conveyance Act
  • S. 510, the Scofield Land Transfer Act
  • S. 659, to reauthorize the Reclamation States Emergency Drought Relief Act
  • S. 684, to amend the Mni Wiconi Project Act of 1988 to facilitate completion of the Mni Wiconi Rural Water Supply System, and for other purposes
  • S. 693, to amend the Reclamation Wastewater and Groundwater Study and Facilities Act to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to participate in the City of Hermiston, Oregon, water recycling and reuse project, and for other purposes
  • S. 715, to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to use designated funding to pay for construction of authorized rural water projects, and for other purposes
  • S.J. Res. 12, a joint resolution to consent to certain amendments enacted by the legislature of the State of Hawaii to the Hawaiian Homes Commission, Act, 1920
  • H.R. 316 and S. Amdt. 579, the Collinsville Renewable Energy Promotion Act

Scheduled witnesses include John Katz, deputy associate general counsel of the Office of Energy Projects for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at the Energy Department, and Bob Quinn, senior advisor at the Interior Department’s Bureau of Reclamation.

3:00 p.m. The Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing on President Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget and revenues proposal in 608 Dirksen. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew is the scheduled witness.

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Feed Grains Database

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook

Wednesday, April 17.

10:00 a.m. The House will meet for morning hour debate.

10:00 a.m. The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on the president’s FY 2014 budget proposal in 215 Dirksen. Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, is the scheduled witness.

10:00 a.m. The House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies will hold a budget hearing on USDA’s Research, Education, and Economics (REE) in 2362-A Rayburn. Scheduled witnesses include Catherine E. Woteki, REE under secretary, Edward B. Knipling, administrator of USDA’s Agriculture Research Service, Sonny Ramaswamy, director of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Mary Bohman, administrator of USDA’s Economic Research Service, Cynthia Clark, administrator of USDA’s National Agriculture Statistics Service, and Michael Young, USDA budget officer. 

12:00 p.m. The House will meet for legislative business.

2:30 p.m. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on comprehensive immigration reform in 226 Dirksen. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is the scheduled witness.

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: National Dairy Products Sales Report

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Announcement of Advanced Prices and Pricing Factors

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Livestock and Poultry

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Turkey Hatchery

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Potato Stocks

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Broiler Hatchery

Thursday, April 18.

Vilsack to host an event to highlight USDA’s Summer Food Service Program to help alleviate childhood hunger in San Diego, CA.

8:30 a.m. USDA Report: U.S. Export Sales

9:00 a.m. The House will meet for legislative business.

9:30 a.m. The House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies will hold an oversight hearing on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in B-308 Rayburn. Dan Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is the scheduled witness.

10:00 a.m. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing on the nomination of Thomas E. Perez to serve as secretary of the Labor Department in 192 Dirksen.

10:00 a.m. The House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies will hold a budget hearing on USDA’s Marketing and Regulatory Programs (MRP) in 2362-A Rayburn. Scheduled witnesses include Ed Avalos, MRP under secretary, Kevin Shea, acting administrator of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Dave Shipman, administrator of USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service, Larry Mitchell, administrator of USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, and Michael Young, USDA budget officer.

10:00 a.m. The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs will hold an oversight hearing in 1324 Longworth on spending for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Council on Environmental Quality, the Office of Insular Affairs, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the president’s FY 2014 budget request for those agencies.

10:30 a.m. The Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, and Food and Drug Administration will hold a hearing on the fiscal year 2014 budget request for the FDA in 124 Dirksen. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg is the scheduled witness.

10:00 a.m. The House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation will hold a legislative hearing on four bills in 1334 Longworth.

The bills include:

  • H.R. 657, To amend the Federal Land Policy and Management Act.
  • H.R. 696, To designate the Wovoka Wilderness and provide for certain land conveyances in Lyon County, Nevada, and for other purposes.
  • H.R. 934, To amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act related to a segment of the Lower Merced River in California, and for other purposes.
  • H.R. 993, To provide for the conveyance of certain parcels of National Forest land to the city of Fruit Heights, Utah.

Friday, April 19.

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Cattle on Feed

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Milk Production

3:00 p.m. USDA Report: Peanut Prices

4:00 p.m. USDA Report: Wheat Data

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