For the Week Ending October 29, 2021
HOUSE DEMOCRATS, WHITE HOUSE REACH TENTATIVE RECONCILIATION FRAMEWORK
President Biden and House Democrats this week agreed on a framework for the budget reconciliation bill that includes $1.75 trillion in spending and almost $2 trillion in projected revenues. Some of the increase in tax revenues will be generated through a 15 percent corporate alternative minimum tax, expansion of the net investment income tax, limitations on the treatment of losses for non-corporate taxpayers and new surcharges on high-income earners and trusts. NPPC successfully has pushed back against new and expanded tax provisions that would be detrimental to pork producers. Working with other trade groups, it helped keep out of the massive budget measure elimination for inherited assets of the stepped-up basis, a provision to impose capital gains taxes on assets transferred at death and any negative changes to existing estate tax thresholds. The bill includes new spending on education, housing and healthcare and investments for addressing climate change and promoting clean energy. It also includes $6 billion for farm debt relief. Negotiations on a final budget package are ongoing, with a House vote likely next week. The White House still must shore up Democrat support for the tax and spending bill in the Senate, though.
NPPC, WATERS COALITION DISCUSS ISSUES RELATED TO NEW ‘WOTUS’ RULE
NPPC Assistant Vice President and General Counsel Michael Formica met this week as part of the Waters Advocacy Coalition (WAC) with the White House Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) to discuss initial steps by the Biden administration to rescind the Trump-era Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR) and replace it with a new version of the Obama administration’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. OIRA review is the last step in the rulemaking process before a proposed or final regulation is published in the Federal Register. The meeting focused on legal issues associated with ongoing litigation over the NWPR and the Environmental Protection Agency’s desire to pull it back, as well as the legal problems the Obama-era WOTUS rule had before multiple federal courts. The waters coalition also raised the potential confusion that would be created if the NWPR is repealed before a replacement rule is drafted, including over clarifications provided to rural landowners under the NWPR on, for example, the treatment of prior-converted cropland, farm ditches and ephemeral features. In addition to NPPC, the WAC is comprised of dozens of other national trade associations, representing the bulk of the U.S. economy.
PHILIPPINES ACTS TO SPEED UP PORK IMPORTS
The Philippines is hoping to prompt faster imports of pork to ease high prices caused by strong demand as it still faces outbreaks of African Swine Fever and global supply chain issues. The country’s Department of Agriculture this week expanded the Minimum Access Volume (MAV) quota for imported pork to cover distribution of product outside the metropolitan areas of Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna and Cavite and to allow pork sales to processors and institutional buyers not just retailers. U.S. pork exports to the Philippines have increased significantly, nearly almost $185 million in the first eight months of 2021, a 157 percent hike from the year before. NPPC has a long history of working in the Philippines for better market access, including reducing tariffs – and making the reductions permanent – and increasing the quota on U.S. pork.
HOUSE AGRICULTURE SUBCOMMITTEES HOLD HEARING ON BIOTECHNOLOGY
The House Committee on Agriculture’s livestock and biotechnology subcommittees Wednesday held a joint hearing on the benefits of agricultural biotechnology and gene editing. Lawmakers and witnesses also discussed the impacts on agricultural innovation of the current regulatory process, the need for public-private partnerships and more funding for land grant universities to help foster technological advances. In a letter sent to Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott (D-GA) and Ranking Member Glenn Thompson (R-PA) ahead of the hearing, NPPC and 22 other agricultural organizations urged the lawmakers to ensure there are “federal policies that are risk- and science-based and will permit the meaningful adoption of these [biotechnology] products by producers, supply chains, and consumers.” (Read the letter here.) Panel members Stacey Plaskett (D-VI), who is chairwoman of the biotechnology subcommittee, and Jim Baird (R-IN) mentioned a recent congressional letter to Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and Food and Drug Administration Acting Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock, asking that their agencies work together to modernize the process for regulating gene edited animals. NPPC supports USDA’s proposal to exercise primary jurisdiction over gene editing in livestock.
NPPC OUTLINES COUNTRIES’ BARRIERS TO U.S. PORK EXPORTS
NPPC on Tuesday provided comments to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on significant barriers that U.S. pork exports face in various countries. Among those barriers are de facto bans on U.S. pork in Brazil and India, with no scientific justification and a litany of obstacles, including tariffs, in China. These trade barriers must be eliminated, said NPPC, which pointed out that “exports contribute significantly to the bottom line of all U.S. pork producers, adding $58, or more than a third, to the value of each hog marketed in 2020.” Last year, the U.S. pork industry exported nearly $8 billion of pork. USTR is compiling comments as it begins drafting its 2022 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers.
SENATE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE SENDS CFTC NOMINEE TO FULL SENATE
The Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee this week approved Rostin Behnam as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), sending his name to the full Senate for confirmation. NPPC strongly supports Behnam for the post at the CFTC, which oversees and helps safeguard the futures and swaps markets used by pork producers and other agricultural sectors to manage financial risks. The organization also signed onto an agricultural letter backing Behnam that was sent Monday to Senate agriculture panel Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member John Boozman (R-AR). Behnam has been a CFTC commissioner for the past four years and has served as acting chairman since Jan. 21, 2021. Previously, he was senior counsel for the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee and prior to that an adviser to the committee on policy and legislative issues since 2011.
NPPC PARTICIPATES IN U.S. ANIMAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION ANNUAL MEETING
NPPC’s science and technology staff – Chief Veterinarian Dr. Liz Wagstrom, counsel Andrew Bailey and adviser Dr. Marie Bucko – this week participated in the annual meeting of the U.S. Animal Health Association (USAHA). Wagstrom chairs the USAHA One Health Committee, which discussed the need for improvements to the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System and for integrated surveillance for antibiotic resistance in food animals. Bailey, Bucko and Wagstrom participated in the Committee on Swine’s discussions on African swine fever, among other topics.
PORK INDUSTRY SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS DEADLINE JAN. 3
NPPC now is accepting applications for the 2022 Lois Britt Memorial Pork Industry Scholarship, which is sponsored by CME Group and managed and administered by NPPC. The program, introduced in 1990 by CME Group and NPPC and named in 2006 in honor of the late-NPPC board member Lois Britt, awards 10 $2,500 scholarships annually to college students who intend to pursue a career in the pork industry, with hopes they will become pork industry leaders. All entries must be sent by Jan. 3, 2022, to be accepted. (Click here for more information, including where to submit applications.)