For The Week Ending August 2, 2013
HOUSE PASSES ‘REINS’ ACT
The House Thursday passed H.R. 367, the “Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act,” which requires congressional approval of regulations that cost more than $100 million. The REINS Act was introduced in response to the ineffectiveness of the Congressional Review Act, which was enacted to allow Congress to veto major rules that had $100 million of impact on the economy. NPPC supported H.R. 367.
HOUSE FARM BILL NUTRITION WORKING GROUP REACHES AGREEMENT ON CUTS
An agreement on $40 billion in food stamp cuts has been reached by a House Republican nutrition working group established by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., said the consensus includes the $20.5 billion in cuts that were in the Farm Bill passed by his committee in May. Lucas also said agreement on a final conference report nutrition title would likely require intervention from “on high” (referencing the president and House and Senate majority leaders). Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., called the cut a “wasted time and effort” and a “roadblock” to getting a Farm Bill passed. Stabenow also expressed concern that there will be only nine legislative days left to pass a bill once lawmakers return from an August recess and before the current Farm Bill extension expires Sept. 30.
SENATE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE NAMES FARM BILL CONFEREES
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Thursday announced conferees to reconcile differences in the Senate and House Farm Bills. Democrat senators include: Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, Mich.; Patrick Leahy, Vt.; Tom Harkin, Iowa; Max Baucus, Mont.; Sherrod Brown, Ohio; Amy Klobuchar, Minn.; and Michael Bennet, Colo. Republican Senators include: Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Thad Cochran, Miss.; Pat Roberts, Kan.; Saxby Chambliss, Ga.; John Boozman, Ark.; and John Hoeven, N.D.
AGRICULTURE GROUPS URGE INCLUSION OF RESEARCH INITIATIVE IN FARM BILL
NPPC, along with nearly 50 meat and livestock groups, Thursday signed onto a letter to the Agriculture Committees’ chairman, chairwoman and ranking members, expressing support for inclusion of the Farm Animal Agriculture Integrated Research Initiative (FAAIR) in the Farm Bill. FAAIR is part of the Senate-passed Farm Bill and represents an important opportunity to advance critical priorities in the area of animal science. According to the letter, current funding by the USDA to support the animal sciences is not proportionate with the economic contributions of animal agriculture, and investment in the animal sciences has been declining for many years. FAAIR helps address the shortfall in federal investments for the animal sciences by supporting high-priority research in three key focal areas: food security, One Health and stewardship. The research priorities in FAAIR build on the Farm Animal Integrated Research 2012 (FAIR 2012) priority setting process, which brought together leaders from industry, academia and government to identify critical priorities for the animal sciences. Click here to read the letter.
SENATE CONFIRMS HARDEN, BONNIE TO USDA POSTS
The Senate this week confirmed the nominations of Krysta Harden to be Deputy Secretary of Agriculture and Robert Bonnie to be USDA Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment. Harden was chief of staff for Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and previously served as Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations at USDA. Bonnie served as USDA senior adviser to the Secretary for Environment and Climate. NPPC expressed support for both nominees in a letter.
CONGRESS, CAPITAL UPDATE TAKE BREAK
Congress will begin its August recess next week; Capital Update will not be published again until Sept. 13.