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The Week Ahead: March 5-11, 2012

March 5, 2012
By: Jim Wiesemeyer, Pro Farmer Washington Consultant
Untitled Document

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

TOPICS: Gas prices | Surface transportation | Farm bill | China | Employment report | S/D report


NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.


The Senate this week will continue work on a two-year, $109 billion surface transportation bill and the House works on China tariff legislation. But the key focus will likely be on surging gasoline prices, with a Wednesday hearing on the topic, and Energy Secretary Steven Chu likely being grilled on the matter during a budget hearing Thursday. A hearing also will take place Thursday to examine whether government regulations are impeding small energy producers and harming energy security.

The surface transportation bill (S 1813) will see the Senate taking a cloture vote to halt debate and the push is on to clear the way for final passage. Votes are slated for early Tuesday afternoon. The latest leadership-authored substitute bill includes 37 amendments cleared by mangers of the bill, but a big list of amendments are still a contentious matter – Republicans are insisting on votes on unrelated measures such as the Keystone XL pipeline and EPA regulations.

The House version of surface transportation legislation is in flux after House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) delayed efforts to move an 18-month bill amid internal GOP differences. The lingering transportation policy discord comes as a March 31 reauthorization deadline looms. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) previously indicated a two-month extension is ready to be considered before current funding expires.

The House will consider bipartisan legislation (HR 4105) dealing with countervailing duties against China. The measure would preserve the Commerce Department's ability to apply countervailing duties (CVDs) against Chinese and Vietnamese imports. The legislation followed a court decision banning the application of CVDs to merchandise from nonmarket economies. US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said the bill is critical to leveling the playing field for US employers and workers confronted with unfairly subsidized imports form countries like China. The White House has called for similar legislation. The bill will likely be considered Tuesday.

House members will also vote on one (HR 3606) of six bills under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, known as the JOBS Act. The first measure, the Reopening American Capital Markets to Emerging Growth Companies Act, would create a temporary “reprieve” from securities regulations for the new category of emerging growth companies that are seeking an initial public offering.

Hearings on the farm bill will also take place this week and on Wednesday, the House Ag Committee will meet to consider its "Views and Estimates" report that will be forwarded to the House Budget Committee for use in drafting the 2013 concurrent budget resolution. That could be the next signal on how much funding will have to be cut from the next farm bill's budget baseline relative to deficit reduction.

On the economic front, the biggest financial reports come Friday with another reading on the employment situation.

On the agriculture report front, Friday brings a USDA update on the supply and demand situation.


This week's Washington-related agenda: The agenda for congressional committees features hearings on Fiscal Year 2013 budget matters, tax reform, capital formation, gas prices, the new farm bill, the Federal Communications Commission, and US trade policy.

Monday, March 5
Israel:
President Barack Obama meets with Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House.
China:
China's National People's Congress begins with observers signaling it will likely to approve a cautious policy to ensure a soft economic landing.
Vice President Biden visits Mexico, Honduras:
Vice President Joe Biden is on the second day of a three-day trip to Mexico and Honduras. He is scheduled to meet Monday with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and also hold sessions with the presidential candidates from the Party of the Democratic Revolution, the Institutional Revolutionary Party and the National Action Party.
IAEA confers on Iran:
The United Nations' IAEA board discusses actions against Iran over its refusal to allow inspection of nuclear facilities. Nuclear issues in Syria and North Korea will also be discussed at a meeting of the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna (until March 9).
Energy:
The annual IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates conference begins with a discussion featuring several key Capitol Hill staffers titled “US Energy Policy in an Election Year.”
Local and regional food systems:
USDA web event to discuss "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass," a program for local and regional food systems. Speaker: Kathleen Merrigan, deputy secretary of Agriculture. Link: http://www.whitehouse.gov/live
Economic reports:
Selected Interest Rates (Federal Reserve) | Factory Orders | ISM Non-Mfg Index.
USDA reports:
Export inspections (AMS).

Tuesday, March 6
GOP presidential primaries: Eleven states vote for Republican presidential hopefuls on Super Tuesday.
FY 2013 appropriations - State Department and Foreign Operations, USAID: Subcommittee hearing. House Appropriations — Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs hearing. Witness: Rajiv Shah, administrator, US Agency for International Development (USAID).
FY 2013 budget - Forest Service: Committee hearing. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Witness: Tom Tidwell, chief, US Forest Service, USDA.
FY 2013 appropriations - Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA - Marketing and Regulatory programs: Subcommittee hearing. Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA, and Related Agencies. Witnesses: Ed Avalos, undersecretary of Agriculture for marketing and regulatory programs; Gregory L. Parham, administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA; Alan Christian, acting administrator, Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration, USDA; Robert Keeney, acting administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA; Michael Young, budget officer, USDA.
Tax incentives for capital investment and manufacturing: Committee hearing. Senate Finance Committee.
Spurring job growth: Committee hearing. Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.
Energy reports: Weekly National Petroleum Report (API).
Economic reports: ICSC-Goldman Store Sales.

Wednesday, March 7
FY 2013 appropriations - Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA – Natural Resources and Environment:
Subcommittee hearing. Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA, and Related Agencies. Witnesses: Harris Sherman, undersecretary of Agriculture for natural resources and environment; Dave White, chief, Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA; Michael Young, budget officer, USDA.
New farm bill – Healthy Food Initiatives, Local Production and Nutrition:
Committee hearing. Senate Ag Committee. Witnesses include USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Global food aid:
Oxfam America conference on international women's issues such as food aid overhaul. Speakers include Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to the president.
Administration trade agenda:
Committee hearing. Senate Finance Committee. Witness: US Trade Representative Ron Kirk.
FY 2013 budget - Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ):
Committee hearing. House Natural Resources Committee. Witness: CEQ Chairwoman Nancy Sutley.
Accounting principles and tax policy:
Committee hearing. House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the treatment of closely-held businesses in the context of tax policy.
Budget views and estimates report – Agriculture:
Committee business meeting. House Agriculture Committee will meet to consider its "Views and Estimates" report that will be forwarded to the House Budget Committee for use in drafting the 2013 concurrent budget resolution.
Rising gas prices:
Subcommittee hearing. House Energy and Commerce — Subcommittee on Energy and Power continues its hearing titled “The American Initiative.”
Energy reports: Weekly Petroleum Status Report (EIA) | Weekly ethanol plant production (EIA).
Economic reports: Weekly mortgage applications (Labor Dept.) | ADP Employment Report | Productivity and Costs | Consumer Credit.
USDA reports: Broiler Hatchery (NASS).

Thursday, March 8
Europe: The ECB and Bank of England are seen holding rates steady.
FY 2013 appropriations - Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA – Food Safety: Subcommittee hearing. Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA, and Related Agencies. Witnesses: Elizabeth A. Hagen, undersecretary of Agriculture for food safety, Food Safety Inspection Service; Alfred V. Almanza, administrator, Food Safety Inspection Service, USDA; Michael Young, budget officer, USDA.
Advanced biofuels outlook:
Pew Project on National Security, Energy and Climate panel discussion on "The Road to Commercialization: Advanced Biofuels in the Public and Private Sectors."
Store food stamp fraud and USDA enforcement:
Committee hearing. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing titled "Food Stamp Fraud as a Business Model: USDA's Struggle to Police Store Owners."
FY 2013 budget – Dept. of Energy:
Subcommittee hearing. House Energy and Commerce — Subcommittee on Energy and Power. Witness: Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.
Regulatory impact on small energy producers:
Subcommittee hearing. House Small Business — Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations.
Budget views and estimates report - Transportation and Infrastructure:
Committee hearing. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will meet to consider its "Views and Estimates" report that will be forwarded to the House Budget Committee for use in drafting the 2013 concurrent budget resolution.
FDA user fees:
Subcommittee hearing. House Energy and Commerce — Subcommittee on Health. Subcommittee hearing titled "FDA User Fees 2012: Hearing on Issues Related to Accelerated Approval, Medical Gas, Antibiotic Development and Downstream Pharmaceutical Supply Chain."
Antibiotic resistant bacteria:
Center for Science in the Public Interest will hold a briefing on antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Energy reports: Weekly US underground natural gas stocks (EIA) | OPEC monthly oil market report.
Economic reports: Jobless Claims (Labor Dept.) | Weekly Mortgage Rates (Freddie Mac) | ICI weekly money market mutual fund data.
USDA reports: Grain Transportation Report (AMS) | Export Sales (FAS)

Friday, March 9

Greece: Euro-zone ministers take a vote on the second bailout for Greece.
New farm bill: Field hearing. House Agriculture Committee will hold a series of field hearings in preparation for drafting the new farm bill. Place: Sparks Athletic Complex, North Country Community College, 23 Santanoni Ave., Saranac Lake, N.Y.
Stanford economic summit: The Economic Summit of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research discusses global and US economic issues. The keynote speaker is Jeffrey Immelt, chief executive of General Electric.
Economic reports: International Trade | Employment | Wholesale Trade.
USDA reports: World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (ERS) | Cotton Ginnings (NASS) | Cotton: World Markets and Trade (FAS) | World Agricultural Production (FAS) | Oilseeds: World Markets and Trade (FAS) | Grains: World Markets and Trade (FAS) | Season-Average Price Forecasts (ERS) | Cotton, Grains, Oilseeds and World Ag Production Data (FAS) | Crop Production (NASS) | Dairy Product Prices (NASS) | Peanut Prices (NASS) | Latest US Agricultural Trade Data (ERS).



NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.


 


 

 

 

 

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