Busy December for Congress

Legislative Watch: Congress has a lot of work before the end of the year; Prop 12 case denied, appeal planned; Thanksgiving dinner up a penny.


P. Scott Shearer, National Hog Farmer

Nov 27, 2019


Congress has a number of major items to consider before the end of the year. There are only eight legislative days scheduled for the rest of this year. However, Congress is expected to be in session more days. The question will be how many things can be finished this year and how many items will be carried over until next year.


         Fiscal year '20 federal funding: The continuing resolution to keep the federal government operating ends on Dec. 20. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees leadership have reached an agreement on funding levels for the various appropriations bills. Congress will now try and pass as many FY '20 appropriations bills, including agriculture, before the end of the year.

         Tax extenders: The $1-a-gallon biodiesel tax credit expired nearly two years ago, along with a number of other tax extenders. It is still to be determined if an agreement can be reached on tax extenders before the end of the year. A bill has been introduced in the House that would extend the biodiesel tax credit at $1 per gallon through 2021 and then reduce it to 75 cents in 2022, 50 cents in 2023 and 33 cents in 2024. The credit would end in 2025.

         U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement: Negotiations are continuing between U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and the House Democratic Working Group. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) this week said, "We are within range of a substantially improved agreement for America's workers." She is waiting on the USTR to send what has been agreed to in writing for "final" review. If an agreement is announced, there still may not be enough time to vote on the USMCA this year because of the various procedural requirements under the Trade Promotion Authority. Thus, a vote would take place early next year.


Court denies NAMI in Prop 12 case


The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California denied the North American Meat Institute's motion for a preliminary injunction of California's Proposition 12 law.


NAMI argues its members would "suffer irreparable harm by constitutional injury and noncompensable money damages" if Prop. 12 is permitted to go into effect. The court rules that NAMI did not establish the requisite likelihood of success regarding the merits of its claims. According to the Court, Prop. 12 "applies evenly no matter where production takes place."


Prop. 12 mandates space requirements for breeding pigs, veal calves and egg-laying hens within California. The law also requires out-of-state producers to meet these new standards to be able to sell their products in California.


NAMI plans to appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.


Thanksgiving dinner increased 1 cent ...