On Tuesday, the Ranking Members of several House Committees sent a letter to Michael Regan, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Michael Connor, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. The letter called attention to regulatory actions taken by the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers that would expand regulatory authority to regulate waters of the United States (WOTUS). Members expressed concern over the lack of accountability accompanying increased bureaucratic authority. They noted their intent to conduct oversight into the issue and request a list of all pending and expected rulemakings on the definition of WOTUS. The letter can be found here.
On Thursday, members of the Senate Agriculture Committee voiced support for confirming key agricultural nominees. Members of both parties expressed hope that Alexis Taylor, the nominee for Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs at the Department of Agriculture, and Doug McKalip, the nominee for Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the Office of the US Trade Representative, could be confirmed by unanimous consent next week. These roles have remained unfilled for nearly two years and there has been increasing bipartisan support to fill these and other key agricultural positions.
This week, the House Agriculture Committee held a hearing on Title II conservation programs as it prepares for the upcoming farm bill. Members received input from stakeholders across the agriculture industry about producers’ experiences with the programs and potential improvements. Stakeholders noted the difficulty in accessing government assistance and called for increased resources to improve efficiency. A recording of the hearing can be found here.
Last week, the House Committee on Small Business held a hearing on the right to repair. During the hearing, members and witnesses alike emphasized how important it is for farmers to be able to repair their equipment and machinery. They discussed how manufacturers inhibiting the ability to repair equipment can not only cause delays for farmers but also impact small business owners who had previously serviced and repaired equipment. A recording of the hearing can be found here.