President Joe Biden is traveling to Brussels this week for meetings with the European Union for talks likely to address ongoing trade disputes, while Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack heads to Capitol Hill to be asked about his political plans.
While Biden is in Europe, talks are expected to continue between the White House and a bipartisan group of 10 senators over a massive infrastructure package. Last week, the group tentatively struck a deal worth around $ 1,000 billion over five years, still below what Biden is looking for.
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai will join Biden in Brussels for meetings with her EU counterparts and then for Tuesday’s US-EU summit.
Informing reporters of the plans for the EU meeting, a senior administration official said: “We will address trade and technology and other challenges in US-EU relations, as well as the opportunities that these issues face. present so that we can focus on writing the rules of the road on these issues together as democracies, and not leaving this work to the autocracies of the world “,
U.S. industry groups, including a number representing agricultural interests, pushed Biden to end tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, resulting in retaliatory duties on U.S. products, including selected cheeses as well as agricultural equipment, distilled spirits, potatoes, nuts, fruits, fruit juices, chocolate and ketchup.
Biden, who spent the weekend at the G-7 summit in England, will be in Geneva on Wednesday to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. A White House official said Biden would be “frank and blunt” with Putin and that there would be both a larger working session and a smaller meeting.
Meanwhile, in Washington, Vilsack will appear before the Senate Farm Credit Subcommittee on Tuesday, where he is likely to receive questions on a wide range of topics, including his plans to use the spending authority of the Commodity Credit Corp. to promote the development of carbon markets.
Other issues that may arise include his plans to fully reopen the USDA field offices as well as concerns about livestock prices.
The Biden administration released its new regulatory agenda last Friday, which includes plans for a series of rules to manage the market power of processors with producers as well as plans to move forward giving the USDA regulatory authority over biotech food animals.
Also on Tuesday, the USDA will begin making more than $ 1 billion in payments under the Quality Loss Adjustment program and the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus. The payments cover losses suffered by farmers in 2018 and 2019. These programs are the main concerns of senior Republican on the farm credit subcommittee, John Hoeven of North Dakota.
Producers who received their first WHIP + payment will receive a second payment for qualifying losses. Due to budget constraints, growers only received half of their initial WHIP + payment for 2019 crop losses. The second payment will equal 40% of the eligible payment. A third round of payments can be made if there is enough money left.
Even though Biden is on the road, White House spokesman Andrew Bates said Cabinet officials and senior White House officials will work with the group of 10 senators on a possible infrastructure deal.
“The questions need to be addressed, especially around the details of the policy and the payments,” he said.
In a joint statement, the group of 10 senators said they would discuss their proposal with colleagues and were “optimistic that this could lay the groundwork for broad support from both sides and meet the infrastructure needs of the country. ‘America”.
The 10 Senators are Bill Cassidy, R-La., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Mitt Romney, R-Utah, Joe Manchin, DW.Va., Jeanne Shaheen , DN.H., Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, Jon Tester, D-Mont., And Mark Warner, D-Va.
North Carolina Representative David Rouzer, a senior Republican official on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said he hoped Senators could reach a deal with the White House.
“I prefer to be optimistic and not pessimistic, and you know this is an issue where there really should be a good, strong bipartisan compromise,” he said in a statement. Agri-Pulse Washington Week in Review interview.
Last week, the Democrats who control the House committee pushed through a partisan $ 547 billion plan over vigorous objections from Rouzer and other Republicans. Among the provisions they dislike is one that would force states to consider low-carbon alternatives such as public transit to widen highways. “People are afraid of change, I understand, but it’s about time,” said President Peter DeFazio, D-Ore.
The full House is expected to deal with the bill the week of June 28.
Some industry groups, including farm organizations, continue to push lawmakers to strike a bipartisan deal.
“Instead of working towards a bipartisan consensus and building on the recent momentum of the Senate, the majority of the House committee has opted for retrospective and confrontational policies that will stand in the way of successful reauthorization,” said Ian Jefferies, president and CEO of the Association of American Railways.
The House, meanwhile, is moving towards more standardized floor procedures for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic, although proxy voting continues to be allowed.
Masks will be optional for fully vaccinated lawmakers on House floor, and the House is ending the practice of voting members in groups, a process that limited the number of lawmakers on the floor at all times.
Here is a list of agriculture-related or rural events scheduled for this week in Washington and elsewhere (All Time EDT):
Monday June 14
4 p.m. – USDA publishes weekly Cultivation progression report.
Tuesday June 15
10 a.m. – Senate Farm Credit Subcommittee audience with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, 124 Dirksen.
10 a.m. – Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources audience with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, 366 Dirksen.
10 a.m. – Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works audience on the appointment of Jeffrey Prieto to the post of General Counsel of the Environmental Protection Agency, 406 Dirksen.
Wednesday June 16
10 a.m. – House Agriculture Committee audience over 1890 land grant institutions.
10 a.m. – House Small Business Subcommittee audience, “Supporting Small Entities Through Investments in National Infrastructure: Broadband,” 2360 Rayburn.
10:00 am – Senate Finance Committee audience with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, 215 Dirksen.
10 a.m. – Senate Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee audience with Home Secretary Deb Haaland, 124 Dirksen.
Thursday June 15
8:30 a.m. – USDA Publications Weekly export sales report.
10 a.m. – Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources audience on the United States Forest Service, 366 Dirksen.
Friday June 16
For more news, visit: www.Agri-Pulse.com