President Trump impeached for second time

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Legislative Watch: Biden proposes American Rescue Plan; Ag trade advisors announced; EPA should not approve biofuels waivers.

The House of Representatives impeached President Trump for inciting the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. He will become the only President to be impeached twice. 

The vote was 232-197 with 10 Republicans supporting the resolution.  Significant was Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the third ranking member of Republican leadership, who voted for impeachment. The Senate trial is not expected to begin until after the inauguration.

The impeachment resolution includes a single article accusing Trump for “Incitement of Insurrection.”  It says he “willfully made statement that, in context, encouraged – and foreseeably resulted in – lawless action at the Capitol.” It also cites his efforts to have the Georgia secretary of state find enough votes to overturn the election results. The resolution also said, “In all this, President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government. He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government” and “betrayed his trust as President.” 

As additional footage of the violence by the rioters emerged since the siege on the Capitol last week, momentum increased for the impeachment resolution.  The FBI has arrested over 100 individuals and are investigating hundreds of others throughout the U.S.  law enforcement and the FBI are warning of increased threats of future violence at the U.S. Capitol and the 50 state capitols.

Biden proposes a $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan

President-elect Joe Biden announced he will be asking Congress to pass a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid rescue package to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and provide support for the economy.  It would create a national vaccine distribution program; provide direct payments to individuals; continue support for nutrition assistance; increase support for education; provide support for state and local governments; and increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour. 

The plan asks Congress to authorize the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue a COVID-19 Protection Standard to cover workers not typically covered by OSHA, “like many public workers on the frontlines, also receive protection from unsafe working conditions and retaliation.”

Items in the American Rescue Plan include:

  • National vaccination program including setting up community vaccination sites nationwide, increased testing and tracing, and eliminate supply shortages. The goal is for 100 million vaccinations, which would cover 50 million individuals in the first 100 days. 
  • Extend the 15% Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit increase.
  • Provide resources to schools for a return to in-person learning.
  • Identify and address emerging strains of COVID-19.
  • Provide $1,400 per person to eligible households. This is in addition to the $600 per person that was in the last COVID relief package.
  • Extend and expand unemployment insurance benefits. 
  • Raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour from the current $7.25.
  • Extend the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums until September 30, 2021.
  • Provide $130 billion for K-12 schools and $35 billion for colleges and universities.
  • Provide $350 billion in additional aid to state, local, and tribal governments. 

With a closely divided Congress, it will be a challenge to pass the proposal. 

Agriculture trade advisors announced

USDA and USTR announced the appointment of 67 members to serve on the agricultural trade advisory committees.

The Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC) advises USDA and USTR on trade policy issues including existing trade agreements and the negotiation of new agreements. The Agricultural Technical Advisory Committees (ATACs) provide technical advice and guidance from the perspective of specific product sectors.

Members appointed to the ATAC for Trade in Animals and Animal Products are:

  • Kent Bacus, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
  • James Bailey III, Walmart Inc.
  • Dr. John Clifford, United Egg Producers
  • Colleen Coyne, Food Export USA - Northeast
  • Dr. Rachel Cumberbatch, Animal Health Institute
  • Warren Gfeller, Stranger Valley Ranch
  • Cassandra Kuball, Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative
  • John Newton, American Farm Bureau Federation
  • Kimberly Ratcliff, Caney Creek Ranch
  • Michael Schumpp, North American Meat Institute
  • Patti Smith, DairyAmerica
  • Kent Swisher, National Renderers Association
  • Osei-Agyeman Yegoah, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University

A complete list of appointments to the seven committees can be found here.

The appointed advisors will serve until 2025

EPA should not approve biofuels waivers

The bipartisan House Biofuels Caucus sent a letter to President Trump asking that he direct the EPA to reject any pending 2019 small refinery exemptions (SREs) that do meet the “criteria established” in last year’s court decision.

In a letter to Trump, the members said granting any waiver requests would “further devastate America’s rural communities as they continue to struggle amidst a difficult economy.”  They said that “It would be inappropriate to grant any waiver petitions inconsistent with the law and the Tenth Circuit Court decision.”

The letter, signed by 23 members, was sent because of reports that EPA may issue pending 2019 SREs in the final days of the Trump administration. 

There are currently 66 SREs pending for compliance years 2011-2019.  EPA has granted 85 waivers over the past four years.

 

Source: P. Scott Shearer, who is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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