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USDA considers expanding domestic fertilizer production

Legislative Watch: 21 potential projects; McCarthy elected speaker; House committees leadership named.

P. Scott Shearer

January 13, 2023

3 Min Read
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USDA announced it is considering 21 potential projects that would increase domestic fertilizer production. The project applicants are seeking $88 million through the USDA's Fertilizer Production Expansion Program. 

In announcing the program, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said, "Working together we can ensure American agriculture is as resilient as ever and will do so by implementing a holistic approach to emergency assistance, by lowering input costs through investments in domestic fertilizer production, and by promoting competition in agricultural markets."

The projects are located in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. 

USDA is currently seeking public comments on the 21 projects as it carries out an environmental review of the proposals. The deadline for the public comments is Feb. 8.

McCarthy elected speaker
Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was finally elected Speaker of the House of Representatives last Saturday on the 15th ballot, the most ballots in over 100 years. 

The rules package, which governs how the House will operate during the 118th Congress, was a key item in the negotiations between McCarthy and the far-right members who delayed his election.

The rules include:

  • Motion to vacate – allows only one member to call a vote to remove the Speaker from office.

  • End of omnibus – appropriations bills will be voted on separately, instead of a package like the FY '23 omnibus appropriations bill passed last month.

  • Lower spending – Cap spending at the levels from two years ago. This will mean cuts to most government programs.

  • Super majority on tax increases – requires a three-fifths vote to approve an increase in tax rates.

  • Debt ceiling – a separate vote on raising the debt ceiling. Republicans want to use the debt ceiling debate to force the administration to make spending cuts.

  • CUTGO – cut-as-you-go rule requires that if a bill increases mandatory spending within a five- or ten-year period, there will need to be spending cuts to offset the increase. Tax cuts that add to the deficit will still be allowed. 

  • China committee – establish a Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party. This is to protect American competitiveness and defend human rights.

Republicans plan to hold a number of oversight hearings and investigations to hold the Biden administration "accountable." These include examination of the Afghanistan withdrawal, administration's COVID-19 response, business dealings of Hunter Biden, and various Justice Department criminal investigations. 

House committees leadership named
House Republicans and Democrats have announced the committee chairs and ranking members for the 118th Congress.  They are:

  • Agriculture – Glenn "GT" Thompson (R-PA), chair; David Scott (D-GA), ranking member

  • Appropriations – Kay Granger (R-TX), chair; Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), ranking member

  • Armed Services – Mike Rogers (R-AL), chair; Adam Smith (D-WA), ranking member

  • Budget – Jody Arrington (R-TX), chair; Brendon Boyle (D-PA), ranking member

  • Education and Workforce – Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chair; Bobby Scott (D-VA), ranking member

  • Energy and Commerce – Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA), chair; Frank Pallone (D-NJ), ranking member

  • Ethics – Michael Guest (R-MS), chair; Susan Wild (D-PA), ranking member

  • Financial Services – Patrick McHenry (R-NC), chair; (D-CA); Maxine Waters (D-CA), ranking member

  • Foreign Affairs – Michael McCaul (R-TX), chair; Gregory Meeks (D-NY), ranking member

  • Homeland Security – Mark Green (R-TN), chair; Bennie Thompson (D-MS), ranking member

  • Judiciary – Jim Jordan (R-OH), chair; Jerry Nadler (D-NY), ranking member

  • Natural Resources – Bruce Westerman (R-AR), chair; Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), ranking member

  • Oversight and Accountability – James Comer (R-KY), chair; Jamie Raskin (D-MD), ranking member

  • Rules – Tom Cole (R-OK), chair; Jim McGovern (D-MA), ranking member

  • Science and Technology – Frank Lucas (R-OK), chair; Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), ranking member

  • Small Business – Roger Williams (R-TX), chair; Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), ranking member

  • Transportation and Infrastructure – Sam Graves (R-MO), chair; Rick Larsen (D-WA), ranking member

  • Veteran's Affairs – Mike Bost (R-IL), chair; Mark Takano (D-CA), ranking member

  • Ways and Means – Jason Smith (R-MO), chair; Richard Neal (D-MA), ranking member

About the Author(s)

P. Scott Shearer

Vice President, Bockorny Group, Inc.

Scott Shearer is vice president of the Bockorny Group Inc., a leading bipartisan government affairs consulting firm in Washington, D.C. With more than 30 years experience in government and corporate relations in state and national arenas, he is recognized as a leader in agricultural trade issues, having served as co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for U.S.-China Trade and co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for Trade Promotion Authority. Scott was instrumental in the passage of China Permanent Normal Trade Relations and TPA. He is past chairman of the USDA-USTR Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Animals and Animal Products and was a member of the USAID Food Security Advisory Committee. Prior to joining the Bockorny Group, Scott served as director of national relations for Farmland Industries Inc., as well as USDA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs (1993-96), serving as liaison for the Secretary of Agriculture and the USDA to Congress.

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