Washington Insider

All Column Articles

  • President Joe Biden has been able to get most of his nominees to key positions confirmed by the Senate in a timely manner. As for Cabinet nominees, Biden actually moved quicker than either Trump or Obama as they took nearly a month longer to get officials...

  • The new holiday comes at the culmination of legislative action this week that saw the Senate approve legislation to declare the June 19 a federal holiday. The House followed suit Wednesday and approved the plan on a 415-14 vote.

  • The House Transportation Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee held a hearing on shipping issues, including many that have affected agriculture such as supply chain constraints that started in the COVID pandemic.

  • As more details began to come out about the action, it appears a little more nuanced that just an outright trade deal. Recall that the two sides had already agreed to in March a four-month suspension of the tariffs totaling some $11 billion in total on products traded between the two countries.

  • Lordstown Motors took over the Ohio plant with a plan to build electric pickups there, the Endurance. The operation has had several troubles and there are now investigations into financial issues at the facility.

  • The issue of defining dairy for labels is one that farm-state lawmakers, especially those from dairy states, have continued to focus on in the wake of the rise of plant-based food products that use terms like “milk” on the labels of the products.

  • Taking food and energy out of the mix as those typically are two of the most volatile price components, the “core” rate was up 3.8% from this point in 2020, the biggest jump since 1992.

  • EPA said it will embark on a new rulemaking to generate the new rule after undertaking a review of the Trump-era Navigable Waters Protection rule. That review, EPA said, indicated it was causing “destructive impacts” to “critical water bodies.”

  • The ransomware attack that hit global meatpacker JBS affected its Australianand U.S. IT systems, and Politico is reporting that the company has told the White House they think it was a "criminal organization likely based in Russia."

  • Loans for cars and student loans increased in April, and basically matched debt use in March. Consumers, however, have been more restrained when it comes to revolving credit such as store cards.

  • U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai sees a significant trade imbalance between the U.S. and China, but also said she is committed to the talks that began under the Phase One agreement.

  • President Joe Biden will meet again Friday with Sen. Shelly Moore Capito, R., W.Va., as the two try to hammer out a deal on an infrastructure package. But Bloomberg reports that the clock is ticking and at least one key lawmaker, Rep. Jim Clyburn, D., S.C., is thinking the effort needs to wrap up...

  • The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Wednesday announced results of Section 301 investigations of digital services taxes (DSTs) with several countries, reaching the conclusion that the countries' actions were enough to warrant the U.S. to impose sanctions.

  • The ransomware attack that hit global meatpacker JBS affected its Australianand U.S. IT systems, and Politico is reporting that the company has told the White House they think it was a "criminal organization likely based in Russia."

  • The European Union is now seeking to mend the fences with the U.S. and seeking to rekindle what is typically a strong relationship.

  • When it comes to the Phase One agreement, many continue to point out that China is running behind its two-year purchase commitments under the deal. But agriculture has done better than the other sectors relative to the purchase targets.

  • The Federal Reserve has set the target range for the key Fed funds rate, the interest rate that governs costs of borrowing across the economy, at a range of 0% to 0.25%, in a bid to provide low-cost money so that the economy can recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fed is also...

  • How countries account for their emissions is going to be a challenge going forward in the mission to reduce emissions. A recent examination of Australia's emissions spotlights that issue.

  • While the size of the infrastructure package remains one objection from Republicans, the other is how the administration wants to pay for the plan. GOP leaders continue to balk at changing the corporate tax rate, or revisiting any of the tax cuts from the 2017 tax bill.

  • Current duties have pushed up lumber prices at a time when residential construction has been on the rise. That is in no small part as lumber prices have risen dramatically. There has been a roughly 300% increase in lumber prices the past year. Yet, the U.S...