August 18, 2019

Farm Bill; and the Agricultural Economy

Farm Bill: Budget Issues

A Daily Radio News Service item from USDA yesterday (“Vilsack: Too Early to Predict Effects of Credit Downgrade”) indicated that, “The Agriculture Secretary says it’s premature to speculate on the effects of recent credit rating downgrades on farm loans and farm programs or on the upcoming farm bill debate.”

Nonetheless, the downgrade has raised pressure on the special 12-member, bipartisan, bicameral “super committee” that will have a substantial impact on phase two of the debt agreement that Congress and the Administration agreed to last week.

In remarks delivered yesterday, President Barack Obama stated that, “I realize that after what we just went through, there’s some skepticism that Republicans and Democrats on the so-called super committee, this joint committee that’s been set up, will be able to reach a compromise, but my hope is that Friday’s news will give us a renewed sense of urgencyI intend to present my own recommendations over the coming weeks on how we should proceed.  And that committee will have this administration’s full cooperation.  And I assure you, we will stay on it until we get the job done.”

And initial attention has turned to who may be appointed to serve on the 12-member committee.


Policy Issues (Budget, Midwest Campaign, Farm Bill); Ag Economy; Regulations; and Biofuels

Policy Issues: Downgrade and Super Committee Pressure

John D. McKinnon, Siobhan Hughes and Michael Crittenden reported in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal that, “Friday’s downgrade of U.S. government debt raises pressure on a special ‘super committee’ that lawmakers formed this week to try—once again—to reach a far-reaching budget deal.

“In its downgrade announcement, Standard & Poor’s said it was taking action based largely on Washington’s constant political bickering and fiscal half measures. Based on the rancorous debate that just concluded, S&P predicted future deliberations would remain ‘a contentious and fitful process.’

How Washington’s political culture responds to that charge could be one of the more important repercussions of the downgrade, outside the reactions of financial markets. And the special debt committee stands as the capital’s first test: Will lawmakers and the administration redouble their efforts to reach a broad budget-cutting deal or again descend into squabbles?


Farm Bill; Ag Economy; Trade; Food Safety; and Biotech

Farm Bill: Budget Issues

Alicia M. Cohn reported yesterday at The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room that, “Republicans in the House and Senate are working ahead of the formation of the bicameral deficit-reduction ‘supercommittee’ to guarantee increased transparency in the committee’s process.

“In a letter sent Wednesday to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a group of six GOP senators requested that the supercommittee meetings not take place ‘behind closed doors.’

“The letter asks that Reid and McConnell, who each will appoint three members of the Senate to the 12-member committee, see that all meetings of the deficit-reduction committee ‘are done in a transparent manner through advanced public notification, public attendance and live television broadcasts.’”


Farm Bill; Trade; Ag Economy; Food Safety; and EPA

Farm Bill: Budget Issues- Potential for Mixed Incentives in Agriculture Deal Making

Robert Pear reported in today’s New York Times that, “Republicans and Democrats maneuvered for advantage on Wednesday in the next battle over federal spending, trying to influence the choice of members and frame the agenda for a powerful ‘supercommittee’ that is supposed to recommend at least $1.5 trillion of additional deficit reduction measures…Congressional leaders have two weeks to name panel members. Names of candidates were circulating Wednesday on Capitol Hill, and some lawmakers have been quietly promoting themselves or their friends for spots on the 12-member panel, which will consist of equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats from the House and the Senate.”

The Times article pointed out that, “Congressional leaders say this panel has a better chance than many of its predecessors because the debt deal creates a strong incentive for bipartisan agreement: If the committee fails to agree or to win approval for a plan from the House and the Senate, the government will automatically cut $1.2 trillion over 10 years from hundreds of military and nonmilitary programs, biting deeply into the priorities of both parties.”

Nonetheless, in an interview yesterday with, House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) indicated that the incentives stemming from automatic cuts may not necessarily provide a clear impetus for deal making- particularly in the case of some aspects of Farm Bill spending.

(more…) Interview: Ranking Member Peterson- Budget Deal and Implications for Agriculture

Categories: Audio /Farm Bill

Today spoke with House Agriculture Ranking Committee Member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) about the recently passed budget deal and its potential implications for agriculture.

A transcript of our conversation is available here.

An audio replay of the discussion can be heard here (MP3- 14:47).


Farm Bill; Ag Economy; Trade; and Regulations

Overview: Budget Deal Passes, Focus Turns to Super Committee

Naftali Bendavid and Carol E. Lee reported in today’s Wall Street Journal that, “The Senate approved—and President Barack Obama immediately signed—the long-awaited deal to raise the nation’s debt limit Tuesday, as the battle shifted to how a special committee created by the measure will cut the deficit by $1.5 trillion.

“The Senate voted 74-26 for the package, which raises the government’s borrowing limit by $2.4 trillion and cuts $917 billion in federal spending. A fiery debate is likely over the next step, the bipartisan panel, and how much of its $1.5 trillion in deficit reductions will come from tax increases and how much from cuts in safety-net programs.”


Farm Bill (Budget Issues); Ag Economy; and Regulations

Budget Agreement- General Background

Naftali Bendavid and John McKinnon reported in today’s Wall Street Journal that, “The House passed a $2.4 trillion debt-ceiling increase Monday night with the Senate planning to follow on Tuesday, after one of the most ferocious fights ever over government spending.”

“Lawmakers and other officials raised questions Monday about how the complicated agreement will unfold in the coming months, such as who will sit on a key deficit-cutting congressional committee and whether that panel can raise taxes.”


Farm Bill- Budget Developments (Policy Issues); and the Ag Economy

Farm Bill Issues: Budget Implications- Debt Deal

Naftali Bendavid and Carol E. Lee reported in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal that, “The House on Friday approved a bill pushed by Speaker John Boehner to raise the government’s borrowing limit, a difficult victory for Republican leaders that came only after they added a requirement for a constitutional balanced-budget amendment to placate rebellious conservatives.

“The bill passed the House 218-210. A short while later, the Democratic-led Senate voted 59-41 to block the measure, setting the stage for last-ditch negotiations this weekend on a potential compromise that could win bipartisan support.”

Lori Montgomery and Rosalind S. Helderman reported in Sunday’s Washington Post that, “With the prospect of a government default just three days away, the White House entered intense negotiations with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Saturday in a last-ditch bid to forge a bipartisan agreement to raise the federal debt limit.

“The emerging agreement calls for raising the $14.3 trillion debt limit by up to $2.4 trillion in two stages, with the debt limit rising unless two-thirds of both chambers of Congress disapprove, according to officials in both parties familiar with the talks. That would extend the Treasury’s borrowing authority into 2013, satisfying President Obama’s demand to avoid another showdown over the issue in the heat of the 2012 presidential campaign.”


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