The House of Representatives:
The House spent the majority of the week considering amendments to H.R. 1, the Continuing Resolutions Act of 2011. This measure would fund the United States government until later in 2011 when the FY2012 federal budget is considered. At the time of writing this, a final vote had not been taken. The amendment process saw over 500 amendments for the House to work through. I hope to have the status of amendments of interest to Colorado Farm Bureau members sorted out and if they passed or failed soon.
House Agriculture Committee:
On February 17 the House Ag Committee met to review the state of the farm economy. This hearing heard testimony from Secretary Vilsack.
On February 16 the House Ag Committee Subcommittee on Nutrition and Horticulture met to To consider reducing the regulatory burdens posed by the case National Cotton Council v. EPA (6th Cir. 2009) and to review related draft legislation. Colorado Agriculture Ag Commissioner John Salazar testified at this hearing. This court case will expand the need to issue permits under the Clean Water Act. The court contradicted the original intent of Congress and these permits are already regulated by FIFRA and state laws. This was a joint hearing with the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
On February 15, the House Ag Committee Subcommittee on Rural Development, Research, Biotechnolgy and Foreign Agriculture met to review the various definitions of ‘rural’ under programs operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
On February 15, the House Ag Committee Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management met to review implementation of the financial reform bill that passed in the 111th Congress, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
The United States Senate:
The Senate finished reauthorization of the FAA Reauthorization bill. This bill provided funding and new law for FAA to follow.
The Senate Ag Committee held a hearing to review the farm economy. Secretary Vilisack also testified at this hearing that ended up focusing on EPA. Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) had the comment of the day when he said the EPA stands for Ending Production Agriculture.