New Covid Aid Package Timeline Still Faces Big Funding Differences

Posted on 09/14/2020 5:24 AM

Still waiting on USDA's CFAP 2 announcement


Washington Focus


The House and Senate are both in session, with negotiations continuing on whether or not divergent views on another Covid aid/stimulus package can be resolved.


     Congress is likely on the way to passing a temporary stopgap spending bill (continuing resolution/CR) before the end of the month. But major differences over pandemic relief, coupled with an agreement to keep the CR “clean” of extraneous provisions, means another Covid-19 bill may have to wait for a lame duck session — or longer. It is hard to predict the road ahead, particularly if it takes weeks before a victor of the presidential election is declared.


     Regarding a new Covid aid/stimulus measure, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she is “optimistic, I do think we should have an agreement, that’s what we all want.” But she repeating more funding is needed than the White House and Senate Republicans are offering.


     The annual defense authorization may be the only new policy passed by Congress this fall, likely after the election, and it still faces a potential veto threat, as President Donald Trump has said he won’t sign the legislation if it includes language to remove Confederate names from military assets.


Timing of CFAP 2 is still in doubt, especially when it became clear Friday that USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue's initial prediction of details last week proved errant. No one wins a prize on guessing when (even though some media crow when they are correct, a dubious achievement).


     CFAP 2 is funded via the additional $14 billion Congress provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security (CARES) Act to replenish the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) account after July 1, 2020. Additional CCC funding will very likely be part of the coming bipartisan continuing resolution (CR) measure that the White House has requested replenishing fund for the CCC.


     As for CFAP 2 details, producers have raised several concerns regarding CFAP 1, including unworkable pay limits and means testing, the loss threshold, lack of a per acre minimum payment, cumbersome inventory rules, the April 15 sales date, insufficient support, etc. How far CFAP 2 will go to clear up those awaits what has turned out to be a mercurial USDA.


     CFAP 2 may not be the last aid package this calendar year, with some signaling a potential post-election plan to deal with continued working capital issues in the ag sector.


The House is returning to floor work this week with a pair of bills aimed at school segregation (HR 2574, HR 2639), as well as legislation (HR 2694) to prevent employment discrimination against pregnant workers. Lawmakers will also vote on a resolution (H Res 908) condemning anti-Asian sentiment that’s worsened during the coronavirus pandemic. The House Rules Committee is meeting on all four measures this afternoon.


     Georgia Republican Rep. Tom Graves announced Friday that he’ll resign from the House in October. He had already planned to retire at the end of this term, but credited his early departure with the House wrapping up work on the Select Modernization Committee, of which he is vice chairman.


Hearings and Events This Week


Hearing and meeting topics focus on Covid-19, EPA, antitrust and China.


Monday, Sept. 14


     • National Farmers Union virtual fly-in, through Friday.

     • Regulations. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announces the administration's agenda, via a webinar with the Federalist Society that will include guidance documents issued by EPA.
     • President Donald Trump to visit Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada, and Phoenix, Arizona.

     • Covid-19 and food security. U.S. Agency For International Development (USAID) teleconference of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development to provide an update on the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on nutrition outcomes and to discuss USAID's response.

     • Antitrust issues. Justice Department's Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) 19th International Competition Network Conference via webcast. FTC Chairman Joseph Simons; and Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Makan Delrahim deliver opening remarks.

     • South China Sea. Center for Strategic and International Studies virtual 10th annual South China Sea Conference focusing on dispute management in the South China Sea.

     • U.S./Qatar. State Department third annual U.S./Qatar Strategic Dialogue. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to deliver remarks with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross also to participate.

     • 5G. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) virtual forum on "5G Open Radio Access Networks." Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai deliver welcoming remarks.

     • Congressional Black Caucus. Congressional Black Caucus Foundation virtual 50th annual Legislative Conference, including remarks from Reps. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), David Scott (D-Ga.), and House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).

     • U.S. Postal Service. House Oversight and Reform Government Operations Subcommittee hearing on "Postal Update."

     • Middle East. Middle East Institute webinar on “U.S./Gulf Relations After the Presidential Election."

     • Labor data users meeting. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) Mid-Atlantic Office Virtual Data Users Conference, including remarks from BLS Commissioner William Beach.

     • Biotech issues. BIO virtual discussion on "Biotech Votes 2020," including analysis on the presidential election, the hurdles between now and election day, "must pass" legislation, a potential Congressional Covid relief package and the post-presidential conventions landscape.

     • Energy issues. United States Energy Association (virtual discussion on "DOE-FE's (Energy Department Office of Fossil Energy) Office of Clean Coal and Carbon Management's Strategic Vision through 2024."

     • Nuclear threats. Senate Foreign Relations Committee closed briefing on "2020 Global Nuclear Threats Update."

     • Sanders remarks. Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute book discussion via webcast with Sarah Huckabee-Sanders on "Speaking for Myself: Faith, Freedom, and the Fight of Our Lives Inside the Trump White House."

Tuesday, Sept. 15

     • Growth Energy Biofuels Summit, through Thursday.
      Rubio remarks. Washington Post Live webinar with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

     • Natural gas. United States Energy Association webinar on "Creating Favorable Investment Climates and Economic Conditions for Natural Gas in the Indo-Pacific."

      • Antitrust issues. Justice Department's Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission 19th International Competition Network Conference via webcast with a session featuring Reiko Aoki, commissioner of the Japan Fair Trade Commission; Ashok Kumar Gupta, chairman of the Competition Commission of India; Alejandra Palacios, chairwoman of the Mexican Federal Economic Competition Commission; and Cani Fernandez, president of the Spanish National Authority for Competition and Markets, participate in a discussion on "Digital Mergers."

     • 2020 elections. American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) webinar on "Down the Home Stretch," as part of the AEI Election Watch 2020 series.

     • NRC COVID response. Nuclear Regulatory Commission meeting by webcast on the agency's response to the Covid-19 Public Health Emergency.

     • EPA issues. Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies virtual discussion with Associate Deputy EPA Administrator Doug Benevento.

     • Google. Senate Judiciary Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights Subcommittee hearing on "Stacking the Tech: Has Google harmed competition in online advertising?"

     • SBA contracting. House Small Business Contracting and Infrastructure Subcommittee hearing on "SBA Management Review: Office of Government Contracting and Business Development."

     • Older working Americans. Concord Coalition conference call briefing on "The Case for Longer Work Lives: Maintaining Economic and Living Standard Growth in an Aging America."

     • Pompeo remarks. Atlantic Council webinar with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on his recent trip to Central and Eastern Europe and "how European nations are awakening to the China challenge." This session has been rescheduled twice.

     • Compensating college athletes. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on "Compensating College Athletes: Examining the Potential Impact on Athletes and Institutions."

     • Pompeo at Reagan Presidential Foundation. Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute virtual event with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to launch the new Reagan Institute Center for Freedom and Democracy.

     • Transatlantic cooperation. Heritage Foundation webinar on "Transatlantic Cooperation in the Covid-19 Era and Beyond."

     • Police actions. House Oversight and Reform Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee hearing on "Confronting Violent White Supremacy (Part IV): White Supremacy in Blue - The Infiltration of Local Police Departments."

     • Infrastructure. Brookings Institution webinar on "It's Time for an Infrastructure 'Boost': Confronting Utility Bill Affordability During the Covid-19 Recession."

     • Venezuela. Center for Strategic and International Studies virtual discussion on "Venezuela on the Brink of Famine: The Impact of Covid-19."

     • Caribbean challenges. House Foreign Affairs Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security and Trade Subcommittee hearing on "The Health, Economic, and Political Challenges Facing Latin America and the Caribbean."

     • Geothermal energy. Resources for the Future (RFF) webinar on "The Future of Geothermal Energy."

     • Biofuels and greenhouse gas emissions. Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) webinar on "Gene Editing for the Climate: Biological Solutions for Curbing Greenhouse Emissions," focusing on biofuels.

     • Climate action. Third Way and the University of Michigan virtual "Fastest Path to Zero" summit on "how to move forward with ambitious climate action."

     • Food insecurity. Washington Post Live webinar on "Fighting Food Insecurity."

     • Clean Air Act costs. Environmental Protection Agency meeting by teleconference of the Chartered Science Advisory Board to review the scientific and technical basis of the proposed rule "Increasing Consistency and Transparency in Considering Benefits and Costs in the Clean Air Act Rulemaking Process."

     • PFAS. House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee hearing on "Addressing the Legacy of Department of Defense use of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS): Protecting Our Communities and Implementing Reform."

     • Solar cycles. National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration media conference call briefing to discuss predictions for the upcoming solar cycle.

     • Trade and education. Center for Global Development webinar on "Trade Liberalization and Chinese Students in U.S. Higher Education."

Wednesday, Sept. 16

     • American Coalition for Ethanol annual conference.
     • FERC nominees. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the nominations of Allison Clements and Mark Christie to be members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

     • WOTUS. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on "Stakeholder Reactions: The Navigable Waters Protection Rule under the Clean Water Act."

     • Digital trade and economic growth. Peterson Institute for International Economics webinar on "Can Digital Trade Agreements Spur the Next Round of Growth?"

     • New Japan PM. Heritage Foundation webinar on "Japan's New Leader Faces China Threat and Other Challenges."

     • FIFRA. Environmental Protection Agency teleconference of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Scientific Advisory Panel to consider and review the use of new approach methodologies (NAMs) to derive extrapolation factors and evaluate developmental neurotoxicity for human health risk assessment.

     • SEC issues. Securities and Exchange Commission teleconference of the Asset Management Advisory Committee.

     • China and technology. National Democratic Institute webinar on "Democracy, Technology and China: U.S. Strategy for Innovation in the 21st Century."

     • Geothermal technology. United States Energy Association webinar on "Legal Aspects and Challenges of Geothermal Industrial Parks."

     • Health equipment. House Oversight and Reform Economic and Consumer Policy Subcommittee hearing on the Trump administration's contracts with Philips Respironics, including recent deals with the Health and Human Services Department and the administration's "failures to supply ventilators during the coronavirus crisis and squandering of more than $500 million in taxpayer funds."

     • Economic issues. Brookings Institution webinar on "The Vanishing American Dream: The Economic Realities Facing Middle- and Lower-income Americans." Participants include former Fed Chair Janet Yellen.

     • Clean economy. House Energy and Commerce Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee hearing on "Building a 100% Clean Economy: Opportunities for an Equitable, Low-Carbon Recovery."

     • Deficit reduction. Millennial Debt Commission virtual meeting on deficit reduction.

     • Covid response. Senate Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the Health and Human Services Department's Coronavirus response, focusing on a review of efforts to date and next steps.

     • Coal issues. Environmental and Energy Study Institute webinar on "Energy Transitions in Coal Country," as part of the "Workforce Wednesdays: Policies and Programs for a Strong, Low-Carbon Covid-19 Recovery" series.

     • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. House Financial Services Committee hearing on "Prioritizing Fannie's and Freddie's Capital over America's Homeowners and Renters? A Review of the Federal Housing Finance Agency's Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic."

     • Ultraviolet light and Covid-19. National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) webinar on "Safety and Efficacy of UVC (ultraviolet light at a "short" wavelength) to Fight Covid-19."

     • Foreign policy. McCain Institute book discussion via webinar on "Foreign Policy Crossroads: Where We Are and How We Got Here."


Thursday, September 17


     • Trade and Xinjiang forced labor. House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee hearing on "Enforcing the Ban on Imports Produced by Forced Labor in Xinjiang."

     • Hog industry priorities. National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) conference call briefing on the NPPC's Fall Legislative Action Conference on priority public policy positions and recent outreach efforts.

     • U.S. Postal Service. House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on operational changes to the U.S. Postal Service.

     • Raspberry trade. International Trade Commission teleconference on "Raspberries for Processing: Conditions of Competition Between U.S. and Foreign Suppliers," with a Focus on Washington State.

     • U.S. trade, economic leadership. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) webcast on "U.S. Trade and Economic Leadership in the Next Decade," as part of the Schieffer series.

     • Global threats. House Homeland Security Committee hearing on "Worldwide Threats to the Homeland."

     • Technology innovation and energy. United States Energy Association second annual Advanced Energy Technology Forum via webinar on "Exploring Technological Innovation in the Energy Sector."

     • Cybersecurity and U.S. energy. United States Energy Association virtual discussion on "Cybersecurity Standards and Best Practices: Part One — U.S. Standards."

     • EU issues. Atlantic Council webinar on "Should Europe Go Its Own Way?" focusing on the European Union.

     • FCC. House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing on "Trump FCC: Four Years of Lost Opportunities."

     • U.S./China issues. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on "Advancing U.S. Engagement and Countering China in the Indo-Pacific and Beyond."

     • Infrastructure and Covid-19. Washington Post Live webinar on "Infrastructure and Innovation," focusing on Covid-19's impact on federal, state and local budgets and the use of data analytics and artificial intelligence to transform infrastructure and foster resilience.

     • Insider trading. House Financial Services Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship, and Capital Markets Subcommittee hearing on "Insider Trading and Stock Option Grants: An Examination of Corporate Integrity in the Covid-19 Pandemic."

     • Information competition with China. Center for Strategic and International Studies (webcast on "Information Warfare: U.S. Competition with China."

     • Small businesses and Covid-19. Brookings Institution's Hamilton Project webinar on "Small Businesses and Covid-19: Supporting Firms at Risk of Failure."

Friday, Sept. 18

     • Covid-19 and elections. Election Assistance Commission webcast to discuss the challenges election administrators and individuals face regarding voter registration during the Covid-19 pandemic and discuss how state and local election offices are responding to those challenges.

     • Trade and automation. Atlantic Council webinar on "Trade Flows in the Age of Automation."

     • Russia elections. Woodrow Wilson Center (WWC) Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies webcast on "Russia Goes to the Polls."

     • Cybersecurity and NASA. House Science, Space and Technology Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee hearing on "Cybersecurity at NASA: Ongoing Challenges and Emerging Issues for Increased Telework During Covid-19."

     • Cybersecurity and US technology. American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) webinar on "Securing U.S. Technology and Communications Supply Chains," focusing on cybersecurity.


Economic Reports for the Week


The main event on the economic calendar is the Federal Open Market Committee’s September meeting, which concludes on Wednesday. A change in interest rates is unlikely, but Chairman Jerome Powell may have more to say about the central bank’s new “average inflation targeting” monetary policy framework and how it could affect their willingness to let inflation run above 2%.


     Economic data out next week include August industrial production and capacity utilization from the Federal Reserve on Tuesday, August retail sales from the Census Bureau on Wednesday. Consumer spending is expected to have climbed 1.3% from July. On Friday, the University of Michigan releases its September consumer sentiment index and the Conference Board releases its leading economic index for August.


Tuesday, Sept. 15

     • Federal Reserve Bank of New York releases its Empire State Manufacturing Survey for September. Consensus estimate is for a 7.5 reading, up from August’s 3.7.
     • Bureau of Labor Statistics reports export and import prices for August. Economists forecast a 0.4% month-over-month rise in export prices, compared with a 0.8% gain in July. Import prices are seen jumping 0.6%, a shade below July’s 0.7% spike. In recent months, the rise in import prices has been primarily driven by higher fuel prices.
     • Industrial Production.

Wednesday, Sept. 16

     • Federal Open Market Committee announces its monetary-policy decision. The FOMC is expected to stand pat with interest rates near zero but might expound on its recently updated inflation framework. Followed by Fed Chairman press conference.
     • National Association of Home Builders releases its NAHB/Wells Housing Market Index for September. Expectations are for a 78 reading, even with the August figure. The August reading matched the December 1998 data as the highest in the 35-year history of the index. The housing market has made a remarkably quick and strong recovery from the pandemic lows. A byproduct of this has been soaring lumber prices.
     • Census Bureau reports retail sales for August. Consumer spending is expected to rise by 1.3% month over month. Excluding autos, estimates call for a 1.5% gain. This compares with jumps of 1.2% and 1.9%, respectively, in July.
     • MBA Mortgage Applications.
     • Business Inventories.
     • Treasury International Capital.

Thursday, Sept. 17

     • Census Bureau reports residential construction data for August. Consensus estimate is for a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.44 million housing starts of privately owned homes, down from 1.5 million in July. Like much of the real estate market, housing starts have rebounded strongly from their pandemic low of 934,000 in April.
     • Department of Labor reports initial jobless claims for the week ending on Sept. 12. Weekly jobless claims remain elevated historically, but have fallen from an average of 1.5 million in June to 992,250 in August.
      • Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index.
     • Fed Balance Sheet.
     • Money Supply.

Friday, Sept. 18

     • University of Michigan releases its Consumer Sentiment Index for September. Economists forecast a 75.5 reading, slightly ahead of August’s 74.1.
     • Conference Board releases its Leading Economic Index for August. Expectations are for a 1.3% gain, roughly even with the previous month. The LEI has risen for three consecutive months, but the pace of change has slowed, suggesting that the postpandemic recovery is losing steam.
     • Current Account.


Key USDA & international Ag & Energy Reports and Events


With USDA's monthly reports released last week, focus now is on end-of-season weather and demand news, especially whether China continues to be a robust buyer of U.S. farm products.


Monday, Sept. 14


     Ag reports and events:

  • Export Inspections
  • Crop Progress
  • Feedgrains Database
  • Wheat data
  • EU weekly grain, oilseed import and export data
  • Monthly MARS bulletin on crop conditions in Europe
  • Heilongjiang Soy Association holds a summit in Harbin
  • International Palm Oil Sustainability Conference, Sept. 14-22

     Energy reports and events:

  • OPEC monthly market oil report
  • U.S. EIA monthly Drilling Productivity Report

Tuesday, Sept. 15

           Ag reports and events:

  • Cotton and Wool Outlook
  • Oil Crops Outlook
  • Dairy Monthly Tables
  • Feed Outlook
  • Rice Outlook
  • Wheat Outlook
  • Livestock Historical Track Records
  • Turkey Hatchery
  • Australia’s Abares quarterly agricultural commodities report
  • Malaysia palm oil export data for Sept. 1-15
  • France’s agriculture ministry crop estimates
  • World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit, Sept. 15-16

           Energy reports and events:

  • API weekly U.S. oil inventory report
  • IEA Monthly Oil Market Report

Wednesday, Sept. 16


           Ag reports and events:

  • Broiler Hatchery
  • Fruit and Tree Nut Data
  • Vegetables and Pulses Data
  • Feed Grains: Yearbook Tables
  • FranceAgriMer supply and demand estimates
  • Future Food-Tech conference, Sept. 17-18
  • Holidays: Malaysia, Mexico

           Energy reports and events:

  • EIA weekly U.S. oil inventory report
  • U.S. weekly ethanol inventories

Thursday, Sept. 17


           Ag reports and events:

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

           Energy reports and events:

  • EIA natural gas storage change
  • OPEC+ online meeting of Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee

Friday, Sept. 18


           Ag reports and events:

  • CFTC weekly commitments of traders report
  • Peanut Prices
  • Stone Fruit: World Markets and Trade
  • Hop Stocks
  • FranceAgriMer weekly update on crop conditions

           Energy reports and events:

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



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