Hearings Continue on Covid-19 Impacts

Posted on 07/13/2020 4:55 AM

Senate out until July 20; House to complete work on FY 2021 appropriations


Washington Focus


The Senate is in recess until July 20 and the House is in pro forma session, with no floor business scheduled.


House appropriators aim to finish all 12 markups before Wednesday, Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) said. The bills are expected to be considered on the House floor the last two weeks of July.


     Ag appropriations update. Last week, the House Ag Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee and full Appropriations Committee marked up the FY 2021 Agriculture Appropriations Bill using virtual participation rules to allow Members to participate remotely. While the measure moved forward on voice votes, House Republicans largely oppose the bill due to several riders, including prohibiting USDA from issuing line-speed waivers at meat processing plants during Covid-19 and the permanent prohibition on USDA carrying out the Food Stamp program reforms it implemented (e.g., limits for Able-bodied adults without dependents it implemented. Of note, the appropriations measure does fully replenish the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), but not beyond its current $30 billion cap.


     Senate appropriations are bogged down over Democrats seeking to include extraneous issues opposed by Republicans. In a statement, a spokesperson for Senate Agriculture Appropriations Chairman John Hoeven (R-ND) said, “The Chairman continues working and is hopeful that we can find agreement to move forward the FY21 Agriculture appropriations bill before the end of the fiscal year on September 30. While this remains the goal, we recognize that this is an especially challenging year.” Most observers expect a Continuing Resolution (CR) will be necessary to keep the government running until after Nov. 3 elections.


Tech giants await EU rulings. The European Union's courts are due to give verdicts this week in two high-profile tech cases: Apple will find out Wednesday whether it must pay Ireland $14.5 billion in allegedly unpaid taxes, while Thursday brings a judgment on how companies can transfer European users' data outside the bloc.


The Senate Banking Committee scheduled a July 21 vote for two nominations to the Federal Reserve Board: Christopher Waller and Judy Shelton. Ranking member Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) released a statement urging Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) to delay the vote on Shelton, and instead hold another hearing with the controversial nominee.


President Trump's schedule:


     • Monday: Trump will have lunch with Vice President Mike Pence. He will also participate in a roundtable with "stakeholders positively impacted by law enforcement."
     • Wednesday: Trump will deliver remarks on infrastructure in Atlanta, Ga.

Thursday: Trump will give a speech on deregulation.
     • Friday: Trump will participate in a credentialing ceremony for newly appointed ambassadors to Washington, D.C.


Hearings and Events This Week



Monday, July 13

     • Federal Reserve. New York Fed President John Williams and Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan scheduled to speak.

     • FY 2021 appropriations: Energy and water, Labor/HHS. House Appropriations Committee markup of the FY 2021 Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies; and the FY 2021 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bills.

     • U.S./Russia/China. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) webcast on "The United States, Russia and China in the Time of Pandemic."

     • Renewable energy. The Virginia Renewable Energy Alliance (VA-REA) webinar on "The Renewed Roaring 20's. Countdown to 2050 Carbon Free General Assembly Debrief."

     • Covid-19 and the economy. National Press Club Newsmaker Program webcast with Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan on "why he believes continuous and widespread testing for Covid-19 is the key to restoring consumer confidence and jumpstarting America's economic recovery."

     • Energy post-pandemic. Energy Bar Association webinar on "The Post-Pandemic Energy Sector. Lessons and Challenges," focusing on regulatory issues.

     • Covid-19 and states. Washington Post Live virtual discussion with Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.) on "taking on the Covid-19 pandemic in her state by focusing on a robust testing strategy, face masking mandate and a decision not to rely on the federal government."

     • ICE detention and Covid-19. House Homeland Security Border Security, Facilitation, and Operations Subcommittee hearing on "Oversight of ICE Detention Facilities. Examining ICE Contractors' Response to Covid-19."

     • Federal lands legislation. House Natural Resources National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Subcommittee hearing on several pieces of legislation dealing with federal lands and national parks.

Tuesday, July 14

     • Politics. Jeff Sessions looks for a chance to retake his old Senate seat. In Alabama, the former attorney general faces off Tuesday against former football coach Tommy Tuberville in the Republican runoff. Meanwhile in Texas, Democrats will be vying for a shot at unseating Sen. John Cornyn.
     • Trump's niece to publish tell-all book. Mary L. Trump's memoir, which tells a bitter story about the president’s upbringing and family dynamics, is due to be released after a legal bid to block its publication failed.
     • Federal Reserve. Fed Governor Lael Brainard and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard to deliver remarks.

     • Hemp and motor carriers. Transportation Department’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration teleconference of the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee, including a discussion on the Impact of the legalization of hemp on the safety oversight of CMV drivers.

     • South China Sea. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) 10th annual South China Sea Conference via webinar, including Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Public Affairs David Stilwell delivering the keynote address.

     • HHS Covid-19 update. Health and Human Services Department’s Agency For Healthcare Research and Quality teleconference of the National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and Quality, including an update on AHRQ's recent accomplishments in Research, Practice Improvements and Data and Analytics; Update on AHRQ and Covid-19; and a presentation on Improving Health Services Research Across the Federal Enterprise.

     • Transatlantic relations. German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMFUS) webinar on "Transatlantic Perspectives on a Post-Pandemic World: Economic Recovery and Globalization."

     • FY 2021 appropriations, Defense, Commerce, Transportation HUD. House Appropriations Committee markup of the FY 2021 Defense; Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies; and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bills.

     • Covid-19. National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) webcast on "Tracking Environmental Changes Due to Covid-19 Through Remote Sensing."

     • Covid-19 and finance. American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) webinar on a new report on "Covid's Impact on Renewable Finance in 2020-2023."

     • Climate crisis report. Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) webcast on "The Climate Crisis Report in Focus," examining the climate action report released by the majority staff of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.

     • Capital markets. House Financial Services Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship, and Capital Markets Subcommittee hearing on "Promoting Economic Recovery: Examining Capital Markets and Worker Protections in the Covid-19 Era."

     • DOE oversight. House Energy and Commerce Energy Subcommittee hearing on "Oversight of DOE (Energy Department) During the Covid-19 Pandemic." Energy Secretary Dan Brouillettee to testify.

     • Pandemic preparedness. House Homeland Security Oversight, Management and Accountability Subcommittee hearing on "Reviewing Federal and State Pandemic Supply Preparedness and Response."

     • Offshore wind energy. American Bar Association (ABA) webinar on "Regulation of Offshore Wind Development in the U.S.: Lessons from the First Decade of Implementation."

     • U.S. economy. American University (AU) webinar on "The Path to Recovery: What Is the True Story of the U.S. Economy?"

     • Energy and sustainability. House Natural Resources Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee hearing on "Energy Infrastructure and Environmental Justice: Lessons for a Sustainable Future."

     • Transatlantic cooperation. House Foreign Affairs Europe, Eurasia, Energy and the Environment Subcommittee hearing on "The Importance of Transatlantic Cooperation During the Covid-19 Pandemic."

     • Argentine debt. Atlantic Council hwebinar on "Argentina's Debt Negotiation: Is a Deal Within Sight?"

     • U.S./China. Washington Post Live virtual discussion with former National Security Advisor Susan Rice on "major global developments, including U.S./China tensions, President Trump's relationship with Russia's Vladimir Putin and the geopolitical impact of the coronavirus."

Wednesday, July 15

     • Federal Reserve. Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker scheduled to speak.

     • Allied cooperation on China. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) webcast on "Allied Cooperation on China."

     • Trade post-Covid-19. Atlantic Council webinar on "Trade in the Post-Covid-19 Global Economy."

     • China and the WTO. Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) webinar on "China in the World Trade Organization (WTO). Current Issues and Prospects for Reform."

     • FY 2021 appropriations, HSA, financial services. House Appropriations Committee markup of the FY 2021 Homeland Security; Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bills; and the Revised 302bs.

     • Nutrition research. Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) webcast on "Advancing Federal Nutrition Research to Improve America's Health."

     • USMCA. American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) webinar on "Mexico vs. Coronavirus: Can the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement Save Mexico's Economy?"

     • Shipping and China growth. George Washington University (GWU) Elliott School of International Affairs webcast on "Sinews of War and Trade: Shipping and Capitalism in the Arabian Peninsula," focusing on the Middle East oil export ports and routes that fuel China's economic growth.

     • Children in CBP custody. House Homeland Security Committee hearing on "Children in CBP (Customs and Border Protection) Custody: Examining Deaths, Medical Care Procedures, and Improper Spending."

     • Electricity and building. OurEnergyPolicy webinar on "Building Electrification: The Politics, Economics, and Infrastructure Around Converting America's Building Stock."

     • Covid-19 and colleges. George Washington University (GWU) Health, Wellness and Public Safety Panel webinar on "Planning for a Safe Return to Campus in Fall 2020."

     • Maritime issues. Maritime Administration webinar of the Maritime Transportation System National Advisory Committee to discuss advice and recommendations for the Transportation Department on issues related to the marine transportation system.

     • Small business recovery. House Small Business Committee hearing on "Long-Lasting Solutions for a Small Business Recovery."

     • Carbon pricing. Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) webinar on "Moving Forward with Carbon Pricing."

     • Broadband connectivity. National Telecommunications and Information Administration holds the "Practical Broadband Conversations" series of webinars on a monthly basis to engage the public and stakeholders with information to accelerate broadband connectivity, improve digital inclusion, strengthen policies and support local priorities.

     • Covid-19 and elections. Brookings Institution webinar on "Election 2020: How Coronavirus is Changing Politics and Public Opinion."

     • Covid-19 and computer technology. House Budget Committee hearing on "Software Update Required: Covid-19 Exposes Need for Federal Investments in Technology."

     • China and Australia. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) webcast on "Countering Chinese Influence Activities in Australia."

Thursday, July 16

     • Federal Reserve. New York Fed President John Williams and Chicago Fed President Charles Evans to speak.

     • Covid-19 and future of business. Brookings Institution's Hamilton Project webinar on "How Covid-19 is Reshaping the Future of Business and Work."

     • Transatlantic relations. German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMFUS) webinar on "Strengthening the Transatlantic Commitment to Democracy, Resiliency and Civil Society."

     • U.S./Japan. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) webcast with former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy.

     • Farm Credit. Farm Credit Administration meeting of the board by teleconference.

     • Asset management and diversity. Securities and Exchange Commission teleconference of the National Advisory Council to discuss matters in the asset management industry relating to improving diversity and inclusion and data and technology.

     • CFTC. Commodity Futures Trading Commission teleconference of the Technology Advisory Committee to receive presentations from the TAC subcommittees on Automated and Modern Trading Markets, Distributed Ledger Technology and Market Infrastructure, Virtual Currencies, and Cyber Security.

     • Security threats. House Homeland Security Intelligence and Counterterrorism Subcommittee hearing on "Assessing the Threat from Accelerationists and Militia Extremists."

     • Covid-19 impacts on oil, gas industries. Atlantic Council webinar on "Cheniere's 2019 Corporate Responsibility Report," focusing on the impact of Covid-19 on the oil and gas industry.

     • WTO. Washington International Trade Association (WITA) webinar on "The World Trade Organization in a Time of Change."

     • Immigration and climate crisis. Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) webinar on "Borders in Moments of Crisis," focusing on "how Covid-19 is impacting immigrant communities and how the Climate Crisis is being used as a pretext by the U.S. to militarize borders and restrict the wellbeing of undocumented people."

     • Coal report. Department of Energy teleconference of the National Coal Council to review and vote on the following report: COAL POWER. Smart Policies for Cleaner Stronger Energy."

     • CARES Act oversight. House Financial Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing on "Protecting Homeowners During the Pandemic. Oversight of Mortgage Servicers' Implementation of the CARES Act."

     • India and the EU. Brookings Institution webinar on "India and the European Union: Next Steps in Strategic Partnership."

     • Export financing. International Trade Administration teleconference of the Trade Finance Advisory Council to discuss possible recommendations on policies and programs that can increase awareness of, and expand access to, export financing resources for U.S. exporters.

     • Future of the WTO. Cato Institute webinar on "The Future of the World Trade Organization."

     • Workforce training. House Small Business Innovation and Workforce Development Subcommittee hearing on "Putting America Back to Work: The Role of Workforce Development and Small Business Rehiring."

     • Pompeo remarks. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers remarks to State Department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights to present the Commission's proposed Report to the public.

Friday, July 17

     • EU leaders plan first in-person summit in months. The confab in Brussels will focus on an economic-recovery plan that would see the bloc take the unprecedented step of borrowing hundreds of billions of euros from the markets to hand out to some member states.
     • Schools and Covid-19. Center for Global Development (CGD) webinar on "When Schools Reopen: What are the Priorities for the Education Sector Post-Covid?"

     • Development and Covid-19. Center for Global Development (CGD) webinar on "Covid-19 and Development."

     • Small businesses and Covid-19. House Small Business Committee hearing on "Oversight of the Small Business Administration and Department of Treasury Pandemic Program."

     • Social Security and Covid-19. House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee hearing on "The Impact of Covid-19 on Social Security and its Beneficiaries."

     • Cybersecurity. House Homeland Security Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Innovation Subcommittee hearing on "Defending Against Future Cyberattacks: Evaluating the Cyberspace Solarium Commission Recommendations."

     • House remote voting. House Administration Committee hearing on "Exploring the Feasibility and Security of Technology to Conduct Remote Voting in the House."

     • Covid-19 price gouging. American Bar Association (ABA) webinar on "Price-Gouging in the Era of Covid-19."

     • Covid-19 and restaurants. Washington Post Live webcast on "The Path Forward: Dining Out."

     • Clean energy. House Science, Space and Technology Energy Subcommittee hearing on "From Lab to Market: Accelerating our Progress Toward Economic Recovery and a Clean Energy Future."

     • Elections and Covid-19. Brookings Institution webinar on "Election Integrity and Security in the Era of Covid-19."



Economic Reports for the Week


Economic reports of interest include updates on industrial production, consumer prices jobless claims and consumer sentiment. Retail sales for June will also be reported to expectations for a 4.5% month-to-month increase.


     Fed speakers on tap include New York Fed President Williams (discussing LIBOR), St. Louis Fed President Bullard (discussing economy and monetary policy) and Philadelphia Fed President Harker (economic outlook). This is the last week that Federal Reserve officials will make the rounds before a blackout on their public speeches begins Friday at midnight ahead of the July 28-29 meeting of the FOMC.


     On the international front, leaders of the 27 European states meet in Brussels for a summit aimed at agreeing on a €750B euro plan for pandemic recovery and China GDP is due to be reported on Thursday.


Monday, July 13

     • Treasury Budget
     • Fed’s Williams discusses Libor in a joint webinar.
     • Fed’s Kaplan speaks in webinar hosted by the National Press Club.

Tuesday, July 14

     • National Federation of Independent Business reports its Small Business Optimism Index for June. Economists forecast that the index will continue its rebound with a 97.5 reading, up from May’s 94.4 and April’s 90.9, a seven-year low.
     • Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the June Consumer Price Index. Consensus estimate is for a 0.6% year-over-year rise, after edging up 0.1% in May. The core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, is seen gaining 1.1% roughly even with May.
     • Fed’s Brainard discusses economy and monetary policy
     • Fed’s Bullard discusses economy and monetary policy
     • China is expected to report that its trade surplus held roughly steady in June. Economists are forecasting a year-over-year drop in imports, though improving domestic demand could make the decline less severe than in May. Exports will likely reflect weak overseas demand for Chinese goods.
     • Eurozone industrial output in May is expected to be up from April’s record drop, while leaving production lower than it was before governments imposed widespread lockdowns in March.
     • The U.K. releases its estimate for economywide output for May. It is one of the few countries to publish a monthly estimate of gross domestic product, and the latest figures are expected to show the economy regained much — although not all — of the output lost in April as the lockdown began to ease.

Wednesday, July 15

     • Federal Reserve Bank of New York releases its Empire State Manufacturing Survey for July. Expectations are for the index to turn positive with a 10 reading, after four straight months in negative territory.
     • Fed Beige Book
     • Import & Export Prices
     • Industrial Production
     • Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations

     • Fed’s Harker discusses economic outlook
     • New York Fed’s Logan speaks at SIFMA event
     • Bank of Japan is set to release a policy decision after a two-day board meeting. The central bank is widely expected to maintain its key short-term rate at negative 0.1%, as it waits to see the effects of its recently introduced measures to provide more liquidity across the economy. It is also scheduled to release its latest outlook report on the economy and prices.

Thursday, July 16

     • Census Bureau reports Retail Sales data for June. Economists forecast a monthly gain of 5.3%, after an all-time-high spike of 17.7% in May, as much of the country reopened after lockdown.
     • National Association of Home Builders releases its NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index for July. Expectations are for a 64 reading, up from June’s 58. The index has rebounded sharply from the pandemic low of 30 set in April.
     • Jobless Claims
     • Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey
     • Business Inventories
     • Fed Balance Sheet
     • Money Supply
     • Fed’s Evans takes part in Rocky Mountain Economic Summit
     • Fed’s Williams speaks to Financial Research Advisory Committee
     • China reports second-quarter gross domestic product. China’s economy is expected to show a return to growth for the second quarter. Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal are forecasting a 2.6% year-over-year gain for GDP, following a 6.8% contraction in the first quarter. Growth could return to its pre-coronavirus pace in the second half of the year, though economists are wary of surging Covid-19 infections in the U.S. and rising political tensions between the superpowers.
     • The European Central Bank meets to set monetary policy, with President Christine Lagarde holding a virtual press conference afterward.

Friday, July 17

      • University of Michigan releases its Consumer Sentiment Index for July. Consensus estimate is for a 79.5 reading, above June’s 78.1 figure.
     • Census Bureau reports new residential construction data for June. Housing starts are expected to jump 23% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.2 million.
     • European Union leaders meet in Brussels on Friday and Saturday to complete a fiscal response to Covid-19-induced recessions across the eurozone. Economists are hoping for agreement on a multibillion-euro rescue package but politicians have played down prospects for reaching a final deal this week.


Key USDA & international Ag & Energy Reports and Events


Weather and demand news remain key focus items, but also foreign wheat production prospects with potential downturns in Russia, Europe and Argentina. The usual attention on the Weekly Export Sales report Thursday will continue, especially relative to China, along with any daily export sales announcements.


     Markets will continue to monitor the U.S./China trade situation. Many observers are downplaying the comments by President Donald Trump on Friday that prospects for a Phase 2 agreement were not very positive. But prior to those comments, U.S. Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer made clear in an interview with AgriTalk that Phase 2 will depend on how China lives up to the terms of the Phase 1, including their two-year purchase commitments. (See Policy Updates for the latest news on this topic.)


     The eight candidates to lead the WTO will meet with WTO members this week and hold press briefings after their sessions. The focus will be narrowing the field so that the selection of a replacement for exiting WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo can stay on an accelerated schedule.


Monday, July 13


     Ag reports and events:

  • Export Inspections
  • Crop Progress
  • Feedgrains Database
  • Wheat data
  • EU weekly grain, oilseed import and export data
  • United Nations food security report

    Energy reports and events:
  • EIA monthly Drilling Productivity Report

Tuesday, July 14

     Ag reports and events:

  • Cotton and Wool Outlook
  • Meat Price Spreads
  • Oil Crops Outlook
  • Dairy Monthly Tables
  • Feed Outlook
  • Rice Outlook
  • Wheat Outlook
  • China trade data, incl. soybeans, edible oil, rubber and meat & offal imports
  • Holiday: France

     Energy reports and events:

  • API weekly U.S. oil inventory report
  • OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report
  • China first batch of June trade data, incl. oil & oil products imports & exports

Wednesday, July 15


     Ag reports and events:

  • Broiler Hatchery
  • Turkey Hatchery
  • Feed Grains: Yearbook Tables
  • Brazil chicken, pork group ABPA’s press conference on output, exports
  • International Sugar Organization’s online conference on Covid-19 impact on sugar and alcohol
  • Malaysia’s palm oil export data for July 1-15

     Energy reports and events:

  • EIA weekly U.S. oil inventory report
  • U.S. weekly ethanol inventories
  • OPEC+ Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee video conference

Thursday, July 16


     Ag reports and events:

  • Weekly Export Sales
  • Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook
  • Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook
  • Port of Rouen data on French grain exports

     Energy reports and events:

  • EIA natural gas storage change

Friday, July 17


     Ag reports and events:

  • CFTC weekly commitments of traders report
  • Peanut Prices
  • Fruit and Tree Nut Data ERS
  • Vegetables and Pulses Data
  • FranceAgriMer weekly update on crop conditions

     Energy reports and events:

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



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