By Jon H. Harsch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, Jan. 9 – Washington will have one overriding concern this week: the tragic shooting in Tucson, AZ which has left Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) fighting for her life after an assassin shot her through the head at point-blank range. The lone gunman killed six in his rampage and wounded 14 others. A courageous woman who grabbed the shooter's second magazine as he tried to reload likely prevented far more carnage in the Saturday tragedy at Giffords' public meeting with constituents.

President Obama responded with condemnation of the shooting, a call for Americans to observe a moment of silence at 11 AM Monday, and an order to fly U.S. flags at government buildings and military facilities at half-staff until sunset Jan. 14 to honor victims.

Politicians from left, right and center joined in condemning the attack and called for more moderation in political rhetoric. For more on the reactions, go to Agri-Pulse coverage at and

Along with condemnations, the House Republican leadership responded by indefinitely postponing Wednesday's scheduled debate and vote on the new healthcare law. Instead, Congress this week will consider ways to improve security for members without limiting the personal contact with constituents which members consider essential to their work. The one House vote expected this week will be on a resolution to honor Rep. Giffords and those killed and wounded in the attempted assassination.

On Monday, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack is scheduled to address the American Farm Bureau Federation's 2011 Annual Meeting in Atlanta about the administration's drive to revitalize the rural economy. He'd also scheduled a Monday press conference on progress in developing renewable energy sources. But just as both President Obama and Congress have shelved their previous plans in order to deal with the Arizona shooting, Vilsack cancelled his renewable energy press conference.

Other key events and meetings this week:

Monday, Jan. 10

  • American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in Atlanta continues through Wednesday.

  • French President Nicolas Sarkozy visits Washington to discuss the G20 and economic issues.

  • U.S. Defense Sec. Robert Gates in China pursuing better relationships with this increasingly dominant trading partner.

Tuesday, Jan. 11

  • USDA Dairy Industry Advisory Committee meeting, through Wednesday.

  • USDA reports: Vegetables

Wednesday, Jan. 12

  • Special bi-partisan security briefing on Capitol Hill by the Capitol Police, Sergeant at Arms and FBI, for members of Congress, their staff and spouses.

  • The House will convene to pass a resolution honoring Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of the Arizona shooting.

  • USDA reports: World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, Season-Average Price Forecasts, Cotton Ginnings, Crop Production, Crop Production - Ann., Grain Stocks, Rice Stocks, Winter Wheat Seedings, Broiler Hatchery

Thursday, Jan. 13

  • USDA reports: Oil Crops Outlook, Rice Outlook, Latest U.S. Agricultural Trade Data

Friday, Jan. 14

  • USDA reports: Feed Outlook, Wheat Outlook, Livestock and Meat Trade Data, Meat Price Spreads, U.S. Agricultural Trade Data Update, Dairy Products Prices, Peanut Prices, Potato Stocks, Turkey Hatchery

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