President Joe Biden will personally appeal this week to the key senator who maintains the administration’s massive spending envelope, and the long-awaited candidate to lead the Food and Drug Administration gets a Senate hearing.
Biden’s hopes of pushing the Build Back Better bill through the Senate before Christmas took another blow on Friday as there was more bad news for Biden on the inflation front: According to the Index of November consumer prices, prices rose 6.8% over the last year, the highest rate in a 12-month period since 1982. Rising prices for groceries, which rose 6.4% over the past year, helping to fuel inflation.
Biden meets earlier this week with Senator Joe Manchin, the Democrat from West Virginia who has repeatedly said he’s worried the roughly $ 2 trillion spending bill could worsen inflation. Without Manchin’s backing, the bill cannot pass the Senate 50-50.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden would tell Manchin that “what we need to do now is think about what we’re going to do with the rising costs and what our plan is. to cope with rising costs “.
Biden himself conceded to reporters that “inflation affects people’s lives,” but he said the Build Build Better bill would reduce the costs of child care and health care.
Last week Manchin reiterated his concerns about inflation ahead of the release of the CPI.
âI don’t know how to control inflation when the first year of spending is going to be pretty big,â Manchin said of the BBB bill. “And that’s a lot more federal dollars at a time when we now have uncertainty and inflation.”
On Friday, the Congressional Budget Office published a cost estimate for the agriculture committee section of the bill; the panel added more than $ 2 billion in conservation technical assistance funding to the bill passed by the House as well as additional research spending.
The CBO says the farm provisions would authorize $ 94.4 billion in spending, but estimates that only $ 89.4 billion would be spent over the 10-year window allowed by the legislation, which takes place as part of the process. of budget reconciliation.
The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions will hold a confirmation hearing on Tuesday for Robert Califf as commissioner of the FDA, which regulates the safety of most food supplies. Califf, a cardiologist, served as commissioner for the last year of the Obama administration.
Califf should be asked about the food industry’s concerns about the agency’s accountability and transparency.
âFDA food standards have become more complex and onerous, FDA response times to rules and pending petitions have increased, and promises to streamline rule-making have not been kept,â he said. said Michael Dykes, president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association.
âThe dairy industry waited 40 years for an update to the yogurt identity standard to be deeply disappointed with the recent FDA decision final rule. Deadlines expressed in decades are of no benefit to anyone. Dr Califf has a second chance to change the agency for the better by leading an FDA that is built on integrity, transparency and modernization of food, âsaid Dykes.
The yogurt rule was first proposed in 2009, but was not finalized until this year. The IDFA said the final rule was too restrictive and failed to recognize industry innovations.
Prior to Califf’s hearing, the FDA released a plan to improve speed and efficiencys investigations of foodborne illness outbreaks. The plan includes the digitization of the process of tracing food to its source.
The FDA also recently proposed asking producers of leafy greens and other fruits and vegetables to do âfull assessmentsâ agricultural water before harvest. The rules would replace the current FDA 2015 Produce Safety Rule requirement for microbial water quality testing.
Special attention will also be given to trade policy on Tuesday when a senior Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, Californian Jim Costa, joins representatives of major farm groups in an online discussion the competitiveness of US exports.
The Roundtable sponsored by the Farmers’ Advocacy Group for Free Trade will also include University of Nebraska economist John Beghin as well as Manuel Sanchez, Chinese director of the US Grains Council; Erin Borror, US Meat Export Federation economist, and Robert Chesler, CEO of United Dairymen of Arizona.
Here is a list of agriculture or rural related events scheduled for this week in Washington and elsewhere (all times EDT):
Monday, December 13
Tuesday 14 December
10 a.m. – Senate Committee on Health, Education, Work and Pensions audience on the appointment of Robert Califf as Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, G50 Dirksen.
Wednesday December 15
Thursday December 16
8:30 am – USDA Publications Weekly export sales report.
Friday 17th December
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