The Senate Finance Committee passed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement by a large bipartisan vote of 25-3 moving the agreement towards ratification. It has yet to be determined when the Senate will vote on the agreement. It is dependent upon when the Senate decides to begin the impeachment trial of President Trump. Once the trial begins, no other Senate business can be considered until the trial is over.
A ruling by the Senate Parliamentarian requires the USMCA to be considered by six other Senate committees before the agreement goes to the floor for consideration. Next week, the Senate Budget; Commerce; Environment and Public Works; Foreign Relations; Health, Education, Labor and Pension committees will consider USMCA. The Senate Appropriations Committee has not set a date for its consideration.
The Canadian Parliament must also ratify USMCA. The Parliament does not go into session until Jan. 27. The Parliament is expected to pass the agreement in February or early March.
China in D.C. next week for signing
A Chinese trade delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He will be in Washington, D.C. next week for a White House signing ceremony of the U.S.-China Phase One trade deal on Jan. 15. Details of the agreement will not be released until after the agreement is signed.
President Trump this week said at a later date a second round of negotiations would begin but may not be completed until after the election.
100% clean energy by 2050
House Energy and Commerce Committee Democratic leaders released draft legislation that would address climate change by moving the U.S. to a 100% clean economy by 2050. Agriculture is not addressed in the proposal.
The "Clean Futures Act" would require all retail electricity suppliers to provide 100% clean energy by 2050. The suppliers would begin increasing the supply of clean energy to consumers beginning in 2022 and reach 100% in 2050. The proposal would reduce transportation emissions by "accelerating the transition to low- to zero-carbon fuels."
A National Climate Bank is established to fund projects that would reduce greenhouse emissions. This would be designed to help states, cities, communities and companies. This could also be used by agriculture.
The committee leaders are requesting comments and recommendations on the draft proposal by all stakeholders.
The House Select Committee on Climate Change will be releasing a report in March.
Loeffler joins Agriculture Committee
Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) is the newest member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Loeffler takes the place of Senator David Perdue (R-GA) who left the committee. Loeffler was appointed to the Senate to take the place of Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) who resigned from the Senate because of health issues.
Loeffler grew up on a farm in McLean County, Ill.