What’s ahead for Washington this week: Will health victory create momentum?

By Jon H. Harsch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, March 28 – With Congress out of town until April 12, members will be back home collecting feedback from constituents about the just-passed healthcare legislation . . . and focusing on how they can improve their prospects for the November elections. And with members of Congress away, the White House has turned to the wider world.

The moment Congress left town, President Obama first announced 15 recess appointments to fill some of the key gaps in administration staffing. For details on the appointments, go to: 


And with healthcare reform now the law of the land, President Obama flexed his muscles in another direction by jetting to Afghanistan to meet with U.S. and coalition troops and with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday.

Obama isn’t the only world traveler. Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack will hold a press briefing this Tuesday in preparation for his April 5-9 trip to Japan where he will work on opening new export markets for U.S. farmers and ranchers.

With so many of the principle players away, count on hard staff work continuing on the White House’s unfinished business: more jobs legislation, financial markets reform, a comprehensive energy & climate bill, and immigration reform. The big question now is whether the new healthcare law will create the momentum that Democrats count on for passing more priority legislation and limiting their losses in November – or trigger the backlash that Republicans count on for blocking any further legislation and putting both the House and Senate back in GOP control this November. The one point of agreement is that this week could decide whether the Democrats will be able to run up the score as the focus shifts from legislating to campaigning.

USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reports:

  • Tuesday, March 30, Weather-Crop Summary, Agricultural Prices, Rice Yearbook Data tables
  • Wednesday March 31, Grain Stocks, Prospective Plantings, Rice Stocks, Broiler Hatchery, Cash Rents – County, Egg Products
  • Thursday, April 1, Dairy Products Prices, Dairy Products, Peanut Prices, Vegetables
  • Friday, April 2, World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, Season-Average Price Forecasts

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