For the Week Ending November 18, 2016
November 18, 2016
HOUSE PASSES BILL TO MAKE IT EASIER TO REPEAL ONEROUS REGULATIONS
The House this week passed by a 240-179 vote legislation that would make it easier to repeal or stop regulations issued during a president’s final year in office. The “Midnight Rules Relief Act” (H.R. 5982) would allow lawmakers to bundle regulations for a Congressional Review Act (CRA) challenge rather than consider them one at a time, which is current law. The White House threatened to veto the bill. The CRA lets Congress rescind regulations enacted in the previous 60 legislative days.
ATTENTION TURNS TO TRUMP FOR RATIFICATION OF TPP
Now that President Obama has indicated he will not push Congress to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement before he leaves office Jan. 20, 2017, attention is turning to President-elect Donald Trump. Various voices are offering their views to the incoming president on the TPP, the 12-nation Asia-Pacific trade agreement that candidate Trump said he would tear up. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which has congressional jurisdiction over trade, urged Trump not to withdraw from the agreement, which was concluded a year ago after six years of negotiations. (He also advised him not to back away from the North American Free Trade Agreement.) The deal, which includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, would eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers on a host of U.S. products, including pork. Also weighing in this week was Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who said U.S. failure to ratify the TPP could shift attention to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which is being led by China and which does not include the United States. It does include seven of the TPP countries. But Abe is continuing to push for TPP. The lower house of Japan’s Diet last week approved TPP ratification legislation; the upper house is considering its own bill. Abe, who met with Trump Thursday, is urging the United States to ratify the TPP, which cannot come into force without U.S. approval. Earlier in the week, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted Trump’s call to renegotiate the TPP deal, saying that it would not be easy to change the terms of the agreement. But he added that it is premature to start considering alternatives to the TPP. Also this week, leaders of the TPP countries, including Obama, met in Peru as part of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation to discuss the state of global trade, including the TPP and the nascent Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP). Steve Cioba, Australia’s Minister for Trade and Investment, recently said his country will conduct a study on the efficacy of the FTAAP given the uncertain future of the TPP.
PORTMAN: IMPROVE NAFTA, DON’T WITHDRAW FROM IT
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, the former U.S. Trade Representative during the George W. Bush administration, in an interview this week, cautioned President-elect Donald Trump against walking away from the North American Free Trade Agreement and suggested the pact among the United States, Canada and Mexico could be improved. During his run for the presidency, Trump threatened to withdraw from NAFTA unless Mexico and Canada agreed to renegotiate it. Portman said there were a number of areas in the 23-year-old trade agreement that could be improved
RYAN NOMINATED TO AGAIN BE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Tuesday was unanimously nominated for a second term as House Speaker by the Republican Conference on a voice vote. Although running unopposed for the gavel, a vote in January is still necessary for Ryan to officially lead the chamber. At the conference meeting, Ryan announced that Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., will be the official congressional liaison to the Trump transition team.
PORK PRODUCERS GREENWAY, BORGIC ELECTED TO USFRA BOARD
The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, a broad coalition of agricultural groups, including NPPC, that educates consumers about how their food is raised, recently elected new members to its board of directors. Chosen as chairman of the organization was South Dakota pork producer Brad Greenway, who is representing the National Pork Board on whose board he serves. Also elected to USFRA’s 17-member board was Phil Borgic, a pork producer from Illinois and a member of the board of NPPC.
CONGRESS LIKELY TO PASS SHORT-TERM CONTINUING RESOLUTION TO FUND GOVERNMENT
When Congress returns to Washington, D.C., Nov. 28 after a week-long Thanksgiving break, they are expected to work on a continuing resolution (CR) to fund government programs sometime into next year. The current short-term funding bill expires Dec. 9. Congressional lawmakers apparently are opting for the CR, which would keep funding levels at their current fiscal 2016 levels, rather than a larger catchall omnibus bill.
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