For the Week Ending April 2, 2021

April 2, 2021

PRESIDENT UNVEILS $2 TRILLION AMERICAN JOBS PLAN
On Wednesday, President Biden unveiled his $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs package. Under the American Jobs Plan, the administration aims to modernize transportation infrastructure, address climate change, overhaul the nation’s water systems and deliver high-speed broadband to all Americans, among other provisions. To pay for the plan, Biden is proposing to raise the corporate tax rate to 28 percent and to increase the minimum tax on U.S. multinational corporations to 21 percent. However, leading Republicans have already balked at the package’s high price tag. “That package that they’re putting together now, as much as we would like to address infrastructure, is not going to get support from our side,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday. “Because I think the last thing the economy needs right now is a big, whopping tax increase,” he added. Due to Republican opposition, it’s unclear what compromises the administration may have to make to secure congressional passage. 

NPPC PROUDLY SUPPORTS HHS COMMUNITY CORPS INITIATIVE TO ENCOURAGE VACCINATIONS
This week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched its COVID-19 Community Corps, a nationwide, grassroots network to encourage Americans to get vaccinated. The Community Corps are comprised of trusted voices in communities across the country, and the administration will regularly share updated public health information and resources for them to use with their communities to help get friends, family, and followers vaccinated. NPPC is proud to support this and other administration efforts to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations. In February, NPPC launched a campaign to encourage essential pork industry workers across the supply chain to get the COVID-19 vaccine. NPPC supports prioritizing COVID-19 vaccinations for essential meat and poultry workers, directly after healthcare workers and other high-risk individuals. For more information, visit: https://nppc.org/essential/

SENATE BILL INTRODUCED TO REFORM HOURS OF SERVICE, ELECTRONIC LOGGING DEVICE REGULATIONS
Sens. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) recently re-introduced bipartisan legislation to reform the Hours of Service (HOS) and Electronic Logging Device (ELD) regulations at the Department of Transportation (DOT). The Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act would establish a working group at DOT, comprised of representatives from the transportation and agriculture industries, transportation safety representatives and USDA. The working group would be required to consider the impact of existing HOS and ELD rules on the commercial transport of livestock, insects and agricultural commodities and develop guidelines on reforming these rules. Within 120 days of receiving the working group’s report, the transportation secretary must propose regulatory changes to the HOS and ELD regulations, taking into account the group’s findings and recommendations. “NPPC strongly supports the Hoeven-Bennet bill, which provides stakeholder collaboration for developing common-sense Hours of Service regulations to addresses the safety of our roadways while protecting the welfare of our livestock,” said NPPC President Jen Sorenson, communications director for Iowa Select Farms in West Des Moines, Iowa. “The bill supports an essential element of the nation’s food production system and the continuity of the U.S pork supply chain,” she added. Learn more about the bill here.  

USTR URGES VIETNAM TO ADDRESS CURRENCY CONCERNS 
On Thursday, U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai urged Vietnam to address U.S. concerns with the country’s currency practices, outlined in the ongoing Section 301 investigation, the USTR explained in a statement. Tai made her remarks during a call with Vietnam Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh. In October 2020, USTR began a Section 301 investigation into allegations that Vietnam manipulated its currency for unfair trade advantages. In early January, the Trump administration decided not to impose tariffs on Vietnamese imports, despite the Section 301 investigation. In late December, NPPC Assistant Vice President of International Affairs testified that tariffs on Vietnamese imports would have left U.S. hog farmers vulnerable to further retaliation. Vietnam is a major pork-consuming nation dealing with African swine fever outbreaks in its domestic herd, yet tariff and non-tariff barriers restrict the United States from supplying this major pork-consuming nation with affordable, high-quality pork. One of NPPC’s top priorities is working to remove these tariff and non-tariff barriers. 

PRESIDENT BIDEN SIGNS BILL EXTENDING PPP APPLICATION DEADLINE
On Tuesday, President Biden signed legislation which extended the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) application deadline to May 31, and the overall program until June 30. The previous PPP application deadline had been March 31. The legislation passed Congress last month. NPPC continues to advocate to ensure all hog farmers can access the program and supports the legislation. 

WHAT’S AHEAD? 
Next Tuesday and Wednesday, a number of NPPC staff will speak at its Alliance spring meeting, including NPPC CEO Neil Dierks, Chief Veterinarian Dr. Liz Wagstrom, Assistant Vice President and General Counsel Michael Formica, Director of Trade Show Marketing Doug Fricke, and Director of Industry Resource Development Rebecca Casey.