Congress Acts to Attempt to Avoid Rail Strike
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives approved a bill to avert a freight rail strike on a bipartisan 290-137 vote. The bill would impose the Tentative Agreement introduced by the President’s Emergency Board in September which would increase rail worker pay by 24% and provide workers an additional paid day off. The House bill also included seven days of paid sick leave for rail workers, something not in the original agreement. The bill’s passage follows a call from the White House to Congress to act to avoid a strike on Monday. On Thursday, the Senate passed the Tentative Agreement on an overwhelmingly bipartisan 80-15 vote. A measure to provide paid workers with paid sick leave did not pass. The bill now goes to the President to be signed into law.
EPA Proposes new RFS
On Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposal to change the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The proposal would raise the minimum required amount of biofuel which must be mixed into gasoline and diesel to 22.68 billion gallons in 2025. For 2022, the required minimum quantity is 20.87 billion gallons. In addition, the EPA proposal would create a credit to incentivize certain biomass production, including natural gas generated from landfills and at farms.
House Agriculture Committee Members Lead Delegation Trip to Cuba
On November 23, Reps. Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Jim Baird (R-IN), and Jahana Hayes (D-CT) concluded their congressional delegation trip to Cuba. The four-day trip consisted of meetings with Cuban farmers, agricultural business operators, and local officials to discuss the current state of agriculture in Cuba. In addition to agriculture, the delegation also raised concerns surrounding human rights, migration, and consular issues. The Committee members also met with the Vice President of Cuba Salvador Valdés Mesa, officials from the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Representatives of the National Assembly.