Washington, D.C. Update

June 24, 2022
USRPA Staff Member Mollie Buckler attended the Senate Agriculture Committee Field Hearing on the 2023 Farm Bill last week in Jonesboro, AR.
President Biden Calls for Gas Tax Holiday
On Wednesday, President Biden called on Congress to suspend the federal gas tax through November to help alleviate high fuel costs. The current federal gas tax is 18 cents per gallon. The President also called on state and local governments to provide additional relief to households by implementing gas and sales tax holidays.

Congress Continues FY2023 Appropriations Work
This week, the Senate held a hearing to discuss the budget request for the US Trade Representative (USTR). During the hearing senators questioned Ambassador Katherine Tai on the fertilizer shortage. The Ambassador noted the USTR’s limitations on acting in this space but assured senators the USTR was working with the Department of Agriculture to mitigate the fertilizer shortage.

In the House, the full Appropriations Committee marked up the Agriculture Appropriations bill on Thursday. It was voted out of committee on a 31-26 vote and will now move to the House floor for consideration by the full chamber. In addition, report language to accompany the Agriculture Appropriations bill was also released this week. It can be found here.

Congress Continues 2023 Farm Bill Preparation
Last Friday, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member John Boozman (R-AR) traveled to Jonesboro, Arkansas to solicit industry input as it prepares the 2023 Farm Bill. Rice farmer Jennifer James discussed how rice has not seen price increases to offset rising input costs and called for the reference prices in the Price Loss Coverage Program to be reconsidered to protect domestic rice production.

In the House, the Agriculture Committee announced a Farm Bill listening session scheduled to take place July 7th, in Fresno, California. The Committee will hold an additional listening session on Saturday, June 25th in Coolidge, Arizona.

House Agriculture Committee Sees Membership Changes
On Friday, House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott (D-GA) announced Rep. Sean Maloney (D-NY) as the new Chair of the Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit. He succeeds Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-NY) who retired to become New York’s lieutenant governor. In addition, Ranking Member Glenn Thompson (R-PA) welcomed Rep. Mayra Flores (R-TX) to the House Agriculture Committee. She was sworn into Congress on Tuesday after being elected to fill the seat held by Democrat Filemon Vela, who resigned from office in March. Rep. Flores won the special election in the 34th Congressional District, which has traditionally been a Democratic stronghold.

Lawmakers File Amicus Brief in WOTUS Case
Last Friday, 165 current and former Democratic members of Congress filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case, Sackett v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which centers on the definition of the scope of the Clean Water Act in defining Waters of the United States (WOTUS). The brief expresses support for the EPA and its broadened interpretation of navigable waters. The Supreme Court is set to hear the case this fall. The amicus brief can be found here.
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