By Bobby Frederick, Director of Legislative Affairs and Public Policy
Both the House and Senate are in session this week leading up to the President’s Day Recess during the week of Feb. 19. After that, both chambers will be in for the next six weeks.
NGFA on Tuesday teamed-up with a number of its state and regional affiliates, including the Kansas Grain and Feed Association, Ohio AgriBusiness Association, the Missouri Agribusiness Association and the Wisconsin Agri-Business Association, to conduct a number of congressional visits with Reps. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., and Glenn Grothman, R-Wis., as well as staff in the offices of Reps. Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., David Joyce, R-Ohio, Michael Turner, R-Ohio, and Sam Graves, R-Mo.
These visits presented a great opportunity to brief decision makers on issues, including regulatory reform, the importance of trade to the grain and feed industry (especially on the heels of official visits between President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Abe and Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau), ideas for critical infrastructure projects and the need for common sense conservation policies that target marginal lands and help producers and grain handlers remain competitive. There seems to be consistent agreement among the offices the NGFA met with on the importance of trade in the North American and Asia-Pacific region, as well as the need for reform that reduces onerous regulatory burdens.
For the remainder of this week, the House will consider a number of disapproval resolutions aimed at undoing rules issued by the Obama administration. Meanwhile, the Senate this week already has approved three additional nominations to President Trump’s cabinet: Steven Mnuchin as treasury secretary; David Shulkin as secretary of veterans’ affairs; and Linda McMahon to head the Small Business Administration. The nomination of Mick Mulvaney to head the Office of Management and Budget will also be voted on this week. Next in line will be Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency and Wilbur Ross to head the Commerce Department. A confirmation hearing date has not been scheduled yet for Sonny Perdue’s nomination to head the U.S. Department of Agriculture, although it is expected to occur in early March.
Committee Watch: The House Agriculture Committee conducts a hearing today to examine the rural economic outlook in preparation for the next farm bill, featuring testimony from several agricultural economists, including USDA Chief Economist Robert Johansson. Look for a report on the hearing in this Friday’s NGFA Supplement!
Trivia answer for 2/1/2017 Newsletter: Sun Prairie is the small Wisconsin town that has been proclaiming itself the Groundhog Capital of the World for nearly 60 years.
Trivia winner: Don Irmiter, commodities assistant at Valero Renewables.
This artist won a Grammy in 1991 for Best Male Country Performance for his album “Ropin’ the Wind” which included the title track, “Against the Grain.”
Email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org