Jan 3, 2011
03:44 PMThe Wind Machine
● The 112th Congress officially convenes on Wednesday, allowing for the official swearing-in of members and other ceremonial functions this week. Reducing the size and cost of government will be the primary aim over the next two years of the new majority in the House of Representatives, led by Speaker John Boehner of Ohio. Look for March 4 to be an important early date in the budget-cutting process, this being the deadline for passing a new spending bill to keep the federal government running—an issue kicked down the road during last month’s Lame Duck session.
● Likely areas of work in 2011 for those of us who represent tree fruit growers and packers on federal policy issues will include trade (Mexico’s retaliatory tariffs and various pending free-trade agreements, such as with Korea); implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act; biotechnology; the next Farm Bill; immigration reform (little hope here of progress), and agricultural pesticides.
● At the start of each year, a minor flood of meetings in Washington, D.C., nearly submerges me. As evidence: this Friday a meeting of USApple’s Public Affairs Committee; next Thursday a meeting of the USDA/USTR Agricultural Trade Advisory Committee; the first week in February the annual meeting of the National Council of Agricultural Employers; and, the third week of February the winter meeting of the United Fresh Produce Association’s Government Relations Committee, followed by the annual meeting of the Minor Crop Farmer Alliance.
POLITICAL FRUIT: “When discussing the alleged huge expansion of government under Mr. Obama, I’ve repeatedly found that people just won’t believe me when I try to point out that it never happened. They assume that I’m lying, or somehow cherry-picking the data.” Paul Krugman, The New York Times, December 23, 2010.