Washington Insider

All Column Articles

  • There is lots of talk now about the agenda, since the Senate has cut its summer "home work period" short and the outlook for health care has clouded. For example, The Hill is reporting that the timing and fate of the President's infrastructure plan may be held back and wait on whether, and...

  • The administration earlier this week published its objectives for the NAFTA negotiations and Informa summarized comments from major ag groups earlier this week. It called reactions to the objectives "largely positive" among ag groups and some lawmakers, but not all. The groups went out of...

  • Earlier this week, House Republicans unveiled a 2018 budget that ignored the President's request for $54 billion in cuts to departments and agencies such as USDA, State and the National Institutes of Health.

  • Addressing trade issues and provisions in a range of areas to bring down the U.S. trade deficits with Mexico and Canada have been released by the Trump administration's Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Objectives to improve the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

  • Informa Economics is reporting this week that in spite of the deep legislative logjam in Congress, the House Appropriations Committee approved by voice vote a $20 billion discretionary spending bill to fund USDA, FDA and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The measure now will move to the...

  • Bloomberg is reporting today that the Trans-Pacific Partnership, thought to be dead in January after the U.S. withdrew, "may be ready to make a comeback."

  • The first known shipment of cooked chicken from China reached the United States last week. The chicken from China will not be labeled, the Washington Post says and a representative from Qingdao Nine-Alliance Group, the first exporter, did not specify the name brand it's being sold under.

  • Congress has just three legislative weeks before the August recess and one month after that before an impending government shutdown and debt ceiling breach, "not to mention the small matters of healthcare and tax reform, which are all tied in some way to the budget," The Hill says. "There...

  • The Minneapolis Star-Tribune is reporting this week that the food industry is flexing its political muscle in new ways these days and points to the recent decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to indefinitely suspended implementation of new food nutrition labeling rules. It says that...

  • Well, you never know. While the U.S. business and ag sectors continue to be deeply worried about future sales overseas, given the administration's protectionist inclinations, so far, those predictions haven't played out, Bloomberg is reporting this week. International trade is having its best...

  • The U.S. traditionally takes point in the search for common approaches to the big global issues of the day at G-20 summits. But, no longer. When world leaders meet in Hamburg on Friday, China and Germany will move in to usurp the U.S. role.

  • Bloomberg is reporting this week that Senate Budget Chairman Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., has no timeline for budget markup, and says he is waiting for health care to be resolved. At the same time, Republican leaders are making the "happy talk" about progress. House Budget Committee Chairwoman Diane...

  • There are few topics more controversial than climate change, its causes and its implications. Thus, while numerous official actions recently had focused on challenging conventional studies on the topic, the New York Times last week printed some of the results of a study recently published in the...

  • The press is raising the political heat index now, focusing on the growing time pressure on the Congress to deal with the unusual amount of fine-grained political work, and the dwindling time available. This kind of pressure is always dangerous, observers note because it increases the already...

  • Informa Economics is reporting today that ag spending is at the center of what has become a protracted effort by House Republicans to produce the budget resolution that could kick off the "reconciliation" process that can pass legislation with only a simple majority vote.

  • While North Korean threats may top the agenda when South Korean President Moon Jae-in meets President Donald Trump later this week, President Trump's call to renegotiate the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement will be difficult to ignore.

  • Cabinet members are taking heavy fire over the administration's budget request in hearing after hearing before Congress. This is not so unusual, observers say, but what is somewhat different is that much of the criticism is coming from Republicans.

  • In addition to the health-care battle and the tax-reform effort, among other things, the Congressional majority is hard at work on how to package the 12 annual appropriation bills needed to keep the government open in the fall. Bloomberg is reporting this week that the package is nearly...

  • While there seems to be less pressure on the future of NAFTA these days, there is still uncertainty regarding the outcome of the talks with Canada and Mexico, Informa Economics is reporting today. Now that more officials of the administration's trade policy team are on board U.S. Trade...