Congress returned this week after its holiday recess. Now back, the top priority will be funding the federal government. In November, Congress avoided a government shutdown by passing a continuing resolution which contained two funding deadlines for different parts of the government. The first of these deadlines — which includes USDA — is January 19, giving Congress just under two weeks to avert a partial government shutdown once they return. The remainder of the government will be funded through February 2. While Congress was able to extend the farm bill until September 30, both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees are continuing work on drafting the next farm bill. Timing will depend on the appropriations process as well as other dynamics in both chambers but there is still hope and desire to have movement in early 2024.
USTR Ambassador travels to India
This week, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai traveled to India for the annual U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum. During this visit, Ambassador Tai will meet with India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry and Minister of External Affairs, where one topic of discussion is expected to be agricultural trade. Last year, the U.S partnered with other rice-exporting countries in filing a counter-notification at the World Trade Organization which alleges that India has over-subsidized its rice production. The U.S. has not filed a formal trade case against India.