The Week Ahead, April 16-22, 2018: Farm Bill Markup by House Ag Panel

Posted on 04/15/2018 10:08 AM

Other topics: Volcker Rule | Appropriations hearings | Robert Muller | Tax policy

Key topics this week include markup of the recently proposed new House farm bill, a meeting between President Donald Trump and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Florida, appropriations hearings, and tax policy focus in hearings and legislation as the tax filing deadline comes Tuesday.

A farm bill (HR 2) markup by the House Ag Committee is slated for Wednesday and will run as long as it takes to get it done this week — the process could be swift if Democrats pull back from most if not all amendments. The draft legislation is proposing major changes to work training and eligibility requirements for recipients of federal food assistance (SNAP/food stamps). The current farm program law expires Sept. 30, and bipartisan negotiations have stalled, Democrats say, over the Republicans’ proposed changes to food stamps. The panel’s ranking Democrat, Collin Peterson of Minnesota, said in an interview with Adams on Agriculture (link) that he expected few if any amendments from his side to get votes. Democrats consider the bill “a sham … They’re not going to vote for it,” Peterson said. Some Democrats will likely initially offer some amendments, but then pull them back, based on prior bills with a lack of bipartisan support. Link to details of House farm bill.

The House on Monday will vote on legislation that would scale back the Volcker Rule limiting banks’ trading activity, a key provision in the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory law. Insured banks with $10 billion or less in assets and limited trading activity would be exempt from the Volcker Rule under HR 4790. The measure would also give the Federal Reserve the exclusive authority to implement the rule, which restricts banks from engaging in proprietary trading and investing in private funds. The House Financial Services Committee approved the bill by a 50-10 vote on March 21.

A measure to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller from any effort by President Donald Trump to fire him may be a focal point this week in Congress. Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has put on Thursday’s markup agenda legislation (S 2644) intended to ensure that Mueller could be fired only for “good cause.” The bill comes in response to Trump’s comments after FBI agents, under the direction of federal prosecutors in New York, last Monday raided the offices of his personal lawyer. Trump called Mueller’s probe an “attack on our country” and said the special counsel and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the probe, have conflicts of interest. However, floor action in the House on the topic is not likely.

Appropriators in both chambers have a full list of hearings on priorities for fiscal 2019, which starts Oct. 1. On Tuesday, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb will testify before the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee; USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue appears before the same panel on Wednesday.

With tax filing deadline on Tuesday, the House will consider two measures on the Internal Revenue Service operations and one on identity theft.

Moderate week of economic updates with focus on consumer activity. The economic calendar ahead is not overloaded with data, but still has some key pieces of the economic puzzle arriving. The biggest attention may well be on Monday with Retail Sales, Empire State Manufacturing, Business Inventories and House Market Index all due to arrive that day. Tuesday's updates include Housing Starts and Industrial Production, with the week's updates wrapping up Thursday via Jobless Claims, Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey and Leading Indicators. The Retail Sales figures are likely to show a still-subdued consumer as they have been pulling back after a hefty amount of spending around the holidays.

Lots of Fed speakers on tap. Even though the economic calendar is not packed, there are a host of Fed speakers that will be offering their views over the course of the week, with officials on the schedule each day. Monday will see Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic (current voter) speak, with the foursome of San Francisco Fed President John Williams (current voter), Fed Governor Randal Quarles, Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker (2020 voter) and Chicago Fed President Charles Evans (2019 voter) all on the schedule. New York Fed President William Dudley (always a voter) is scheduled to appear twice on Wednesday with Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester (current voter) delivering remarks Thursday evening. The week closes out with Chicago Fed's Evans and San Francisco Fed's Williams on Friday. The attention still remains on how these officials discuss the potential rate increases ahead and whether they think the pace will be quicker than the three increases currently projected by Fed members for all of 2018. And, we arrive at the two-weeks-to-go before the next Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) as the Beige Book is released Wednesday. The watch there will be on signals relative inflation – both relative to prices and wages – and what kind of commentary there is in the anecdotal snapshot of the economy relative to tax reform, expanded government spending and trade tensions. All that sets up for another potentially volatile week ahead — especially if the Trump administration comes forward with additional tariff threats on Chinese goods.

Key USDA report this week is Thursday's Weekly Export Sales and if there are any daily export sales announcements and if so, which commodities and the tonnages. Recent daily sales have bolstered soybean futures. Other U.S. and international agriculture and energy-related reports on tap this week:

Monday, April 16

  • Export Inspections

  • Crop Progress

  • Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook

  • Turkey Hatchery

  • EU Monitoring Agricultural Resources (MARS) monthly bulletin on crop progress and weather conditions in Europe

  • EIA’s Monthly Drilling Productivity Report

  • Kuwait Oil and Gas Summit, with speakers to include OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo

Tuesday, April 17

  • Potato Stocks

  • Fruit and Tree Nut Data

  • Vegetables and Pulses Data

  • Brazil’s Conab releases April sugar, ethanol production data

  • API weekly U.S. oil inventory report

Wednesday, April 18

  • Broiler Hatchery

  • Livestock Slaughter, Annual

  • India announces June-September monsoon rain forecast

  • Black Sea Grain conference in Kiev, April 18-19, including speakers from UkrAgroConsult, Invivo and CME Group

  • U.S. weekly ethanol inventories

  • EIA weekly U.S. oil inventory report

Thursday, April 19

  • Weekly Export Sales

  • County Estimates: Hay 2016-2017

  • Livestock Slaughter

  • EU weekly grain, oilseed import and export data

  • Buenos Aires Grain Exchange weekly crop report

  • Strategie Grains report on EU grains supply and demand

  • Black Sea Grain conference in Kiev, final day

  • EIA natural gas storage change

  • API Monthly Statistical Report

Friday, April 20

  • CFTC weekly commitments of traders report on various U.S. futures and options contracts.

  • Peanut Prices

  • Cattle on Feed

  • Milk Production

  • Baker Hughes weekly U.S. oil/gas rig counts

  • OPEC’s Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee meets in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Other reports and events this week include:

Monday, April 16

  • Trade policy. Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross joins Google and IBM officials to discuss transatlantic business at an joint event sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Business Europe.

Tuesday, April 17

  • President Trump and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hold a summit meeting at Mar-a-Lago in Fla.; expected to discuss North Korea, trade and other issues; into Wednesday.

  • Taxes. Filing deadline for U.S. taxpayers hits at midnight.

  • Tax legislation. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) speaks about tax legislation at U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

  • FY 2019 budget, FDA. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb discusses the agency’s FY 2019 budget at House Ag Appropriations Subcommittee hearing.

  • Trade policy. Malaysian officials have requested to meet with U.S. trade representatives; country seeks exemption from steel, aluminum tariffs.

  • Surface Transportation Board. House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee hearing on the Surface Transportation Board. 

Wednesday, April 18

  • Farm bill markup by House Ag Committee.

  • FY 2019 budget, Agriculture. USDA Sec. Sonny Perdue scheduled to discuss USDA’s FY 2019 budget at House Ag Appropriations Subcommittee hearing.

  • FY 2019 budget, Forest Service. House Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the Forest Service with USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue testifying.

  • FY 2019 budget, Army Corps, Bureau of Reclamation. Senate Energy-Water Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation

  • Groundwater protection. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on the federal and state role in protecting groundwater.

  • Federal Reserve issues its beige book on economic conditions in its 12 districts.

  • Bank of Canada announce key policy interest rate, while also presenting its monetary policy report.

  • Refugees. World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva discusses financing for countries hosting refugees at Center for Global Development.

Thursday, April 19

  • Cuba. Six decades of Castro rule in Cuba come to an end as Raúl Castro retires.

  • Bank of Japan publishes its Financial System Report.

  • FY 2019 budget, USAID, State Department. House State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee hearing with the inspectors general for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State Department.

  • Rural energy challenges and opportunities. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on rural energy challenges and opportunities.

Friday, April 20

  • World Bank, IMF. The spring meetings of the boards of governors of World Bank and International Monetary Fund commence.


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