WASHINGTON, April 11, 2016 - The Senate returns to work today on its reauthorization bill for the Federal Aviation Administration, and there’s still hope that Senate leaders will agree to attach extensions of tax incentives for biodiesel and advanced biofuels.
According to senators, the leadership has agreed so far to include some renewable power tax breaks that were never renewed after last year. The biofuel provisions, by contrast, are still in effect through the end of this year, but there's concern that the FAA bill may be the only vehicle for getting the tax credits extended.
“It just doesn’t make sense to allow this credit to lapse and be reinstated retroactively over and over again,” said Ben Evans of the National Biodiesel Board.
The measures that expire this year include a $1-a-gallon tax credit for biodiesel and a $1.01-per-gallon credit for cellulosic biofuels.
Spending bills on tap, plus CFTC, Feed the Future. The House is back this week from its two-week Easter recess, and lawmakers look to make progress on some bills important to food and agriculture policy. The House is scheduled to act Tuesday on a bill that would enshrine into law President Obama’s Feed the Future initiative. Feed the Future is being used to boost agricultural production and improve nutrition in 19 target countries around the world.
On Wednesday, the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee will bring out its fiscal 2017 spending bill for the Agriculture Department, Food and Drug Administration and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
And speaking of the CFTC, the Senate Agriculture Committee will vote Thursday on a reauthorization bill for the agency. Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts is offering some concessions to Democrats that he hopes will get their support for the measure.
For more on those issues and other events ahead this week, read Agri-Pulse’s Washington Week Ahead.
Cruz sweeps Colorado GOP delegates. Ted Cruz continues to make it more difficult for Donald Trump to lock up the Republican presidential nomination. Thanks to a superior ground operation, Cruz swept all of Colorado’s 34 GOP delegates, which were selected through a series of district meetings and the state convention on Saturday.
Cruz also is working to make sure that delegates currently committed to other candidates will support him if balloting at the national convention goes more than one round. In Iowa over the weekend, Cruz supporters won 11 of 12 national conventional delegate positions that were awarded at the state’s four GOP district conventions, The Des Moines Register reports.
Trump used his Twitter feed yesterday to lash out at the Cruz strategy. Trump said he’s getting stuck with delegates who don’t support him “because they are offered all sorts of goodies by (the) Cruz campaign. Bad system!”
In Wyoming, Sen. Bernie Sanders swept the Democratic caucuses - beating Hillary Clinton by about 11 percentage points on Saturday. However, the net result was basically a tie, with each candidate securing seven of the state’s 14 delegates.
There are no primaries this week. The New York primary is April 19.
Today’s Daybreak reader photo is from Dean Hughson, who was recently attending an international egg industry conference in Poland. Each week we’re asking our readers to share their sunrise photos from wherever they’re getting Daybreak.
GMA makes appeal in Washington state case. Lawyers for the Grocery Manufacturers Association are in court in Washington state today arguing that the trade group didn’t intentionally violate a campaign finance disclosure law. The trial is now in the penalty phase. And the judge can triple the fine if the state proves GMA deliberately broke the law in campaigning against a biotech labeling measure. GMA says it believed it was following the law and that an unintentional violation “should only warrant a modest penalty.”
Vilsack to Congress: ‘Stay the course’ on nutrition. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is defending a provision of the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act that’s now being targeted by House Republicans. The measure allows schools with high poverty rates to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students. A discussion draft of a House school nutrition authorization bill would restrict the number of schools that could take advantage of the law.
Vilsack says a new study by the Food Research and Action Center and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows that because of the provision, 8.5 million children in 3,000 school districts are now participating in school meal programs without the stigma of applying for the benefit.
Vilsack urges Congress “to stay the course in child nutrition. It would be unwise to roll back standards, saddle parents and school administrators with more paperwork or weaken assistance for our most vulnerable children.”
USDA reaching out to women. Women who are just starting out in agriculture or considering a career on a farm or ranch are encouraged to participate Wednesday in a conference call being organized by USDA’s Women in Agriculture Mentoring Network. Women will hear experts on which tools are available to help them and what to expect.
A past president of the National Corn Growers Association, Pam Johnson, will be among the experts on the call along with Lilia McFarland, new farmer coordinator for the USDA.
The call will be from 2 to 3 p.m. EDT on Wednesday. The call-in number is 888-844-9904. The passcode is 9041474. Questions on logistics and any questions for guest speakers can be submitted in advance by emailing them firstname.lastname@example.org by noon EDT on Wednesday.