Washington week ahead: House debates FY23 spending measures, FDA in focus | 2022-07-16

The House of Representatives will debate a package of six spending bills this week that includes funding for departments and agencies critical to agriculture, with Republicans pushing for a vote on amendments aimed at carving out key parts of President Joe Biden’s regulatory agenda.

Also this week, top officials from the Food and Drug Administration are scheduled to testify at a Senate hearing about their oversight of food safety.

Democrats’ legislative agenda is shrinking fast with the August recess and fall campaign looming, and Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., appears to be killing Democrats’ hopes for anything other than a relatively narrow budget reconciliation bill. Manchin is reportedly opposed to including anything but some health measures. That would reduce the chances of passage of new clean energy tax credits and funding for farm bill savings programs.

“If the Senate does not act to address the climate crisis and strengthen our domestic clean energy industry, I will take strong executive action to meet that moment,” Biden said in a statement Friday. It is not clear what he intends to do with the executive action; its capabilities are limited without additional authorization and funding from Congress or tax incentives.

Still, House Democratic leaders are pushing to get all of their fiscal year 2023 spending measures passed before the August recess, even though they have no agreement with the Senate on the level of spending, and Senate Republicans have made it clear they won’t agree on the spending to agree only after the November elections.

The Rules Committee meets Monday to decide which amendments will be considered for the first of the FY23 spending packages, which will include the Agriculture and Interior and Environment bills that fund the Department of Agriculture, the FDA, the Department of the Interior and Environmental Protection Agency.

Republicans would like to use the debate to put Democrats on the spot on a wide range of issues, and have filed numerous amendments. But most will surely be overruled by the rules panel.

The amendments that were tabled include an amendment by Dan Newhouse, D-Wash., that would block the Biden administration from continuing to develop a new “waters of the US” rule to determine Clean Water Act jurisdiction.

A pair of amendments aims to cut proposed funding for the USDA and FDA. One proposed by Rep. Kevin Hearn, D-Oklahoma, would cut the USDA-FDA portion of the spending package by 22%. Another, proposed by Rep. Ralph Norman, RSC, would see a 5% cut. The size of USDA and FDA spending is $27.2 billion provide significant new funding to sustain technical assistance, rural broadband and food security.

Rep. Kathy McMorris Rogers, R-Wash., has filed an amendment that would prohibit the Army Corps of Engineers from doing any dam-breach work on the lower Snake River, which has raised concerns among wheat farmers. The National Service of Sea Fisheries reported in a A draft report last week said removing four dams on the Snake River is “necessary” to return the river’s threatened salmon population to harvestable levels

Representative Tom Tiffany, R-Wis., is proposing to block the gray wolf from being listed as endangered.

Wednesday’s FDA hearing before the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee comes at a time when the FDA is under fire for its role in the infant formula shortage and widespread concern that food safety is not getting enough attention at the agency.

FDA Commissioner Robert Califf will be accompanied at the hearing by Frank Yannas, Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response; Susan Mayne, director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition; and Michael Rogers, assistant commissioner for human and animal nutrition.

Senators will also hear from Brian Ronholm, director of food policy at Consumer Reports, and Sarah Gallo, vice president of product policy at the Consumer Brands Association.

Last week, Sen. Dick Durbin, R-Ill., and House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro, R-Conn., introduced a bill that would move the Mayne unit, as well as the Center for Veterinary Medicine and the Office of Regulatory Affairs, into the new Food Safety Administration.

Durbin is not on the Appropriations Subcommittee.

The global food crisis, exacerbated by skyrocketing market prices and the war in Ukraine, is the focus of the Capitol on Wednesday. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will meet with USAID Administrator Samantha Power, UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield and UN World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley.

The hearing comes as negotiations continue to open Ukraine’s Black Sea ports to export stocks of wheat and corn stranded by the war. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky last week expressed optimism that the agreement will be concluded in the near future.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans are pressuring Power to act more quickly to deliver food aid to the countries hardest hit by the crisis. Congress passed $10 billion in humanitarian and food aid in separate packages in March and May, but USAID has not spent all of the first tranche and is leaving half of the second until next fiscal year, senators say.

“Stopping Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine is a security necessity; preventing a large-scale humanitarian crisis prevents global unrest, mass migration, widespread hunger, and preserves American security and prosperity here at home,” the senators wrote.

Also this week, Growth Energy and the EPA are expected to file a consent agreement requiring the agency to propose 2023 renewable energy volume commitments no later than Sept. 16 and finalize targets no later than April 28, 2023.

Here’s a list of agriculture or rural events scheduled for this week in Washington and elsewhere (all times EDT):

Monday, July 18

13.00 — Commission on internal procedure a meeting consider a package of six spending bills, Transportation-HUD, Agriculture, Energy-Water, Financial Services, Interior-Environment, and Military Construction.

4:00 p.m.—USDA weekly releases Harvest progress the report

July 19, Tuesday

10.00 — House of transport and infrastructure hearing with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, 2167 Rayburn.

10.00 — Foundation of the village forum“Customer Demand for Environmental Reporting: A Perspective on Environmental Impact Measurement.”

2:00 p.m. — House of Representatives subcommittee on oversight and reform hearing“Renewable Agriculture: How Farmers and Ranchers Matter to Address Climate Change and Increase Food Production,” 2154 Rayburn.

Wednesday, July 20

10.00 — subcommittee on agriculture hearing of Crop Insurance, 1300 Longworth.

10:00 a.m. — Senate Subcommittee on Appropriations for Agriculture hearing on food safety of the Food and Drug Administration.

10:00 Senate International Affairs Committee hearing“The Global Food Security Crisis and the US Response,” 215 Dirksen.

Thursday, July 21

8:30 a.m. – USDA Releases Weekly export sales the report

10:00 a.m. — American Institute of Entrepreneurship forum, “Can Billions of Dollars in Federal Grants Solve America’s Broadband and Affordability Challenge?” 1789 Massachusetts Ave. NW.

Friday, July 22

3:00 p.m.—USDA Monthly Releases Cattle for feed the report

For more news, follow the link: Washington week ahead: House debates FY23 spending measures, FDA in focus | 2022-07-16

Back to top button