House Continues Focus on Impeachment Inquiry; Senate Works on FY 2020 Spending

Posted on 10/28/2019 5:06 AM

RFS hearing in House | FOMC statement | Jobs report

The House remains mired in its behind-closed-doors impeachment inquiry, while the Senate continues to debate Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations measures, including one for USDA.
     More concrete news will come on the economic front, with an FOMC interest rate decision on Wednesday, third-quarter GDP numbers the same day and on Friday, release of the Employment report.
     On the energy policy front, the House will hold a hearing on the recent controversial EPA decisions on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program, with EPA on Wednesday holding a comment period on the developments in Michigan. EPA today published its proposed rule (link).

 

The House is expected to vote on a rare bipartisan Turkey sanctions bill this week.

On the RFS program front, House Democrats sense a political issue as they set a hearing on Tuesday by a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee to focus on the Trump administration’s controversial plan to deal with biofuel volumes waived for “small” refiners that have received exemptions. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue assured President Trump during a Cabinet meeting last week that farmers will like EPA’s plan “once they fully understand what you’ve done here.” That statement led some to want Perdue to explain the situation during the panel hearing.

EPA finally published its supplemental Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rule in the Federal Register today (link) and will be taking comments until Nov. 29

On Wednesday, EPA will hold a public hearing on the RFS program in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

The Senate is considering a four-bill spending package and may consider a resolution that would condemn Turkey for escalating hostilities in Syria and call on President Trump to rescind an invitation to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to visit the White House.

The Senate is looking to finish work this week on a package of spending bills funding USDA and other agencies important to agriculture, but it increasingly appears that Congress won’t reach a final agreement on fiscal 2020 until after the first of the year. A continuing resolution (CR) funding departments and agencies at FY19 levels expires Nov. 21, and it is an easy prediction that tardy lawmakers will have to pass another stopgap bill — FY 2020 started Oct. 1. When asked about a stopgap measure to fund the government into February or March, Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said, "That's probably in the ballpark.” However, House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) said she wants a shorter stopgap to keep pressure on lawmakers to pass bills.

There is a $900 million gap in USDA discretionary funding to close, including a dispute over the relocation of two USDA research agencies to resolve in order to deliver a fiscal 2020 spending compromise. Relocation of the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture has been a controversial topic for some Democrats who say the move is unnecessary and disruptive to the two agencies. The Senate bill would provide $25 million to USDA to complete the move; the House bill does not provide such funding. Each bill would provide $16.5 million for USDA to develop a regulatory framework to guide farmers raising hemp.

On the trade policy front, the U.S. and China are close to finalizing sections of a preliminary trade mini-deal, according to U.S. Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin after discussions by phone last week with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He. Deputy-level negotiators will continue work on other areas of the agreement, Lighthizer's office said.

Key focus this week will be on economic reports and an FOMC announcement. On Wednesday, the Federal Open Market Committee will announce its interest-rate decision. Third-quarter GDP numbers arrive the same day. On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the jobs report for October. Expectations are for a 90,000 gain in nonfarm payrolls, after a 114,000 rise in September. The headline unemployment rate is seen ticking up to 3.6%, still near half-century lows.

Economic updates for the week include:

Monday:
— International Trade in Goods
— Chicago Fed National Activity Index
— Retail Inventories [Advance]
— Wholesale Inventories [Advance]

Tuesday:
— FOMC meeting begins
— S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller HPI
— Conference Board releases its Consumer Confidence Index for October. Consensus estimates are for a 127 reading, up from September’s 125.1.
— National Association of Realtors reports pending home sales for September. Economists forecast a 1% rise after a 1.6% jump in August.

Wednesday:
— MBA Mortgage Applications
— ADP releases its National Employment Report for October. Expectations are for a 130,000 gain in private-sector employment, down from September’s 135,000 rise.
— Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reports its advance estimate for GDP in the third quarter. Economists forecast a 1.8% annual rate, below the second-quarter’s 2% figure.
— State Street Investor Confidence Index
— Survey of Business Uncertainty
— FOMC Meeting Announcement
— Fed Chair Press Conference

Thursday:
— Challenger Job-Cut Report
— Jobless Claims
— BEA releases its Personal Income and Outlays Report for September. Both personal income and spending are seen rising 0.3%. In August, income gained 0.4% while expenditures rose 0.1%.
— Employment Cost Index
— Chicago PMI
— Fed Balance Sheet
— Money Supply

Friday:
— Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the jobs report for October. Expectations are for a 90,000 gain in nonfarm payrolls, after a 114,000 rise in September. The headline unemployment rate is seen ticking up to 3.6%, still near half-century lows.
— Institute for Supply Management releases its Manufacturing PMI for October. Consensus estimates are for a 49 reading. If those predictions prove correct, it would be the third consecutive month below the expansionary level of 50.
— ISM Mfg Index
— Construction Spending

Fed speakers on tap:

Friday:
— New York Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams participates in a Roundtable Conversation held by the Newark Anchor Collaborative in Newark, New Jersey.
— Federal Reserve Board of Governors Vice Chairman Richard Clarida speaks at a "Special Luncheon with Federal Reserve Board Vice Chair Richard Clarida" event held by the Japan Society in New York, N.Y.
— John Williams participates in a moderated discussion at the Rutgers Business School in Newark, New Jersey.

Key USDA & international ag- and energy-related reports and events on tap:

Monday, Oct. 28

Ag reports and events:

  • Export Inspections
  • Crop Progress
  • Livestock & Meat Domestic Data
  • Holiday: India, Malaysia, Singapore
  • EU weekly grain, oilseed import and export data
  • EU’s monthly MARS bulletin on weather, crop conditions
  • Datagro Sugar Conference, Sao Paulo, Day 1

Tuesday, Oct. 29

Ag reports and events:

  • Peanut Stocks and Processing
  • Datagro Sugar Conference, Sao Paulo, Day 2

Energy reports and events:

  • API weekly U.S. oil inventory report

Wednesday, Oct. 30

Ag reports and events:

  • Broiler Hatchery
  • Egg Products

Energy reports and events:

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

Thursday, Oct. 31

Ag reports and events:

  • Weekly Export Sales
  • Fruit and Tree Nut Yearbook
  • Agricultural Prices
  • Port of Rouen data on French grain exports
  • INTL FCStone event to discuss sugar and ethanol markets, Sao Paulo
  • 15th Indonesian Palm Oil Conference, 2020 Price Outlook, Bali, Indonesia, Day 1
  • AmSpec, Intertek, SGS publish Malaysia’s Oct. 1-31 palm oil exports numbers

Energy reports and events:

  • EIA natural gas storage change

Friday, Nov. 1

Ag reports and events:

  • CFTC weekly commitments of traders report on various U.S. futures and options contracts.
  • Peanut Prices
  • Cotton System
  • Fats & Oils
  • Flour Milling
  • Grain Crushings
  • USDA soybean crush, corn for ethanol, DDGS output
  • USDA releases select commodity tables for the Agricultural Projections to 2029
  • International Cotton Advisory Committee monthly world supply/demand data
  • FranceAgriMer weekly crop conditions
  • Indonesian Palm Oil Conference, Day 2
  • Brazil soy, sugar, coffee, corn exports

Energy reports and events:

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

Other reports and events this week include:

Monday, Oct. 28

  • President Donald Trump hosts a Halloween event at the White House and then departs for Chicago to deliver remarks to the International Association of the Chiefs of Police Annual Conference and Exposition.
  • Human trafficking. House Homeland Security Intelligence and Counterterrorism Subcommittee of House Homeland Security Committee field hearing on "Tackling Human Trafficking: Assessing Federal, State and Local Information Sharing Efforts."
  • Human, animal research interactions. National Academy of Science's (NAS) Institute for Laboratory Animal Research workshop on "Human-Animal Interactions in the Research Environment,” Oct. 28-29.
  • Red Sea region. Institute of World Politics (IWP) book discussion on The Red Sea Region Between War and Reconciliation.
  • Climate change. Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) discussion on "Running Out of Time: Climate Change's Impact on International Development."

Tuesday, Oct. 29

  • Easing fuel economy standards. House Oversight subcommittee hearing on Trump administration plans to ease fuel economy standards.
  • RFS. House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on "Protecting the RFS (Renewable Fuel Standard): The Trump Administration's Abuse of Secret Waivers."
  • Environmental Markets and Finance Summit, in Washington, D.C.
  • Clean energy workforce. House Small Business Innovation and Workforce Development Subcommittee hearing on "Creating the Clean Energy Workforce."
  • Labor markets. House Judiciary Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee hearing on "Antitrust and Economic Opportunity: Competition in Labor Markets."
  • U.S. Mideast objectives. House Foreign Affairs Middle East, North Africa and International Terrorism Subcommittee hearing on "The FY2020 Budget: Examining the Administration's Policy Objectives for a Turbulent Middle East."
  • Boeing 737 MAX. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing on "Aviation Safety and the Future of Boeing's 737 MAX."
  • International ag residues. International Trade Commission hearing on the global economic impact of national maximum residue level (MRL) policies on plant protection products, with a focus on the impacts that low and missing standards have on agricultural trade.
  • Food loss & waste. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) holds a discussion on "Moving Forward on Food Loss and Waste Reduction."
  • APEC summit preview. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) media briefing to preview the 2019 East Asia Summit and APEC meeting.
  • Housing discrimination. House Financial Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing on "Financial Services and the LGBTQ+ Community: A Review of Discrimination in Lending and Housing.
  • China tech transfers. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) holds a discussion on "Managing the Risk of Tech Transfer to China."

Wednesday, Oct. 30

  • RFS. EPA hearing on the Renewable Fuel Standard supplemental rule, Ypsilanti, Michigan.
  • National FFA Convention, through Saturday, Indianapolis.
  • Energy policy priorities. Senate Energy Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and ranking member Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) discuss energy policy priorities in the U.S., at a CSIS event.
  • Nomination: EPA. Senate Environment Committee considers nomination of Sean O’Donnell to be inspector general of the EPA.
  • Surprise medical bills. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) discuss bipartisan legislation to protect patients from surprise medical bills at a Bipartisan Policy Center.
  • Organic agriculture. House Agriculture Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research Subcommittee hearing on "Reviewing the State of Organic Agriculture — Producer Perspectives."
  • Sexual harassment in Interior Dept. House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing.
  • Water security in the West. Senate Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee hearing on the use of technology to increase water security in the West.
  • Global terrorism. Acting Homeland Security Sec. Kevin McAleenan, who is leaving his post, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, testify at House Homeland Security Committee hearing on domestic threats from global terrorism.
  • President Donald Trump holds a ceremony to award the Medal of Honor to Mst. Sgt. Matthew Williams for conspicuous gallantry while serving in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan on April 6, 2008.
  • Homeland terrorism threats. House Homeland Security Committee hearing on "Global Terrorism: Threats to the Homeland, Part II."
  • White House security clearances. House Oversight & Reform Government Operations Subcommittee hearing on "Examining the White House's Dysfunctional Security Clearance System."
  • Climate change. House Select Climate Crisis Committee hearing on hearing on "Solving the Climate Crisis: Opportunities in Agriculture."
  • Small business exports. U.S. Chamber of Commerce's (USCC) Technology Engagement Center (CTEC) briefing on "Growing Small Business Exports."
  • Energy priorities. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) holds a discussion on energy priorities.
  • CFIUS & trade issues. Washington International Trade Association (WITA) discussion on "The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), Export Controls, and the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Supply Chain Executive Order," focusing on foreign investment and export controls on emerging and foundational technologies.
  • U.S. truck fleet. Diesel Technology Forum Web event on "New Insights on the U.S. Commercial Truck Fleet," focusing on clean air and fuel savings.

Thursday, Oct. 31

  • Supply chain security. Christopher Krebs, director, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel testify at Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing to examine supply chain security, global competitiveness and 5G.
  • USAID. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) holds a discussion on "USAID's Evolution as an Institution."
  • China belt and road initiative. George Washington University (GWU) Elliott School of International Affairs discussion on "Geo-strategic Impacts of the Belt and Road Initiative."

Friday, Nov. 1

  • Long-term USDA projections. USDA releases select commodity tables for the Agricultural Projections to 2029. Released at 11 a.m. CT.
  • Iraq energy. Atlantic Council holds a discussion on "Iraq's Political and Energy Outlook."

 

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