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House Committee on Agriculture Weekly Roundup

Week of July 18-22, 2011
Members in the Media
Must Reads
House Ag Committee Action
House Highlights
Senate Ag Committee Action
Looking Ahead

Quick Links
House Agriculture Commitee

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Members in the Media
Follow the Twitter hashtag #food4us during Farm Bill Audits to learn more about farm policy.

Rep. Thompson: Review of Regulations has Farmers, Lawmakers Worried

Rep. Ellmers: Voters Go Head-to-Head with Lawmakers (video)

Rep. Roby: Rep. Roby Supports Alabama Conservation and Forest Products Industry

Rep. Huelskamp: Congress Should OK Balanced-Budget Amendment

Rep. Schilling, Rep. Hartzler: House Takes up “Cut, Cap and Balance” Bill

To highlight Members’ press coverage, email Suzanne Watson at suzanne.watson@mail.house.gov
Must Reads

House GOP Chairman: Dodd-Frank Needs to Be Reworked, not Repealed “Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) pushed back against calls for repeal of the law, as well as wholesale support of all of its parts. Rather, the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee argued that the law is here to stay, but that does not mean it can’t be improved.” (The Hill)

Ford Tells House New Rules Could Hinder Hedging Financial Risks Ford Motor Company Treasurer Neil Schloss explains how Dodd-Frank regulations can have unintended consequences for non-financial institutions like manufacturers and farmer cooperatives: “During the recent credit crisis, when many financial institutions were curtailing credit availability, Ford Credit, supported by securitization funding, consistently supported our dealers and retail customers with their financing needs.” (The Detroit News)

Under Attack, Gensler Defends Derivatives Rules “Frankly, I don’t believe anyone in this administration can provide an honest assessment of what the cumulative impact of these regulations will be,” Mr. Lucas said at the hearing. “With unemployment stagnating at more than 9 percent, we need greater accountability from you, Chairman Gensler, and from the administration, that you at least have a handle on the impact these regulations will have on our economy and the functioning of our financial markets.” (New York Times)

New Farm Bill in a Matter of Months? “We in agriculture are prepared to do our part,” Lucas says. “We just don’t want to do it two or three times. I’ve told leadership repeatedly, whatever your number is, if it’s a part of addressing the overall national problem, OK give us the number and let the committee make the decision on where those savings and cost cuts will be made.” (Dairy Herd Network)

Trade Deals Could Slip into September “While Washington debates and delays, the rest of the world is moving forward,” said John Murphy, vice president of International Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “It’s becoming absolutely excruciating for the business community.” (Associated Press)

House Ag Committee Action

Wednesday, July 20

Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy and Forestry

Agricultural Program Audit: Examination of USDA Energy and Forestry Programs

As part of the continuing series of Farm Bill audits, this hearing examined energy and forestry programs. There is no funding for the Title IX energy progams once the 2008 Farm Bill expires, so Members used the hearing to evaluate whether to continue encouraging feedstock development and how to do so. Forestry programs are permanently authorized and do not require authorization as part of the Farm Bill, but Members questioned witnesses on forestry management and program efficiency.

Press Release: Energy and Forestry Programs Under the Microscope During Audit Hearing
Watch Video from the Hearing

Thursday, July 21
Full Committee Hearing
Derivatives Reform: The View from Main Street

Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Gary Gensler joined industry representatives to testify before the Agriculture Committee on how Dodd-Frank regulations are affecting Main Street businesses. Witnesses representing community banks, public power companies, rural electric co-ops, and manufacturers who expressed concerns that the CFTC’s regulations may go too far, imposing unnecessary costs on their businesses.

Press Release: Committee Focuses on the Impact of Dodd-Frank on Main Street Businesses
Watch Video from the Hearing
Subcommittee on Nutrition and Horticulture
Agricultural Program Audit: Examination of Title IV Nutrition Programs
Nutrition programs account for more than 75% of all Farm Bill spending. The primary nutrition assistance pgoram is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which was formerly known as food stamps. Members learned about the dramatic growth in SNAP participation and examined ways to cut program expenses without compromising the integrity of nutrition assistance.

Press Release: Subcommittee Examines Largest Portion of Farm Bill Budget: Nutrition Programs
Watch Video from the Hearing

House Highlights
House Approves “Cut, Cap and Balance” Plan The House passed H.R. 2560, to cut, cap, and balance the Federal budget, by a recorded vote of 234 to 190.

GOP House Votes to Limit New Consumer Protection Bureau The House passed H.R. 1315, to amend the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to strengthen the review authority of the Financial Stability Oversight Council of regulations issued by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, by a recorded vote of 241 to 173.

Senate Ag Committee Action
Thursday, July 21

Meeting to Consider Mark P. Wetjen for Commissioner of the CFTC Wetjen pledges to follow Congressional intent and to seek balance in writing derviatives regulation.

Senate Highlights
Senate Votes to Kill House GOP’s “Cut, Cap and Balance” Budget Measure Speaker John Boehner says, “Media accounts are speculating about a ‘deal’ between Republicans and the White House that does not exist. What does exist is the Cut, Cap, & Balance Act, approved by the House with bipartisan support and the support of the American people. The Senate should do its job, listen to the people, and pass it today.”

Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs holds Hearing on Enhanced Oversight After the Financial Crisis : The Wall Street Reform Act at One Year.

Looking Ahead
Monday, July 25

House of Representatives will consider H.R. 2584, the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2012. This legislation will take a needed step toward reining in overzealous and job-destroying government regulations.

Wednesday, July 27

Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management

Agricultural Program Audit: Examination of Title I and SURE Program

Thursday, July 28

Subcommittee on Rural Development, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture

Agricultural Program Audit: Examination of USDA Research Programs

For the most current information, visit http://agriculture.house.gov/hearings/. All public hearings and meetings available for live online viewing.

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