Hurry Up and Wait: NCBA reacts to elections
Though President Trump hasn’t conceded the race and former vice president Biden is moving forward by appointing some administration leaders, the transition of power is halted, funds for transition haven’t been released and the presumptive president-elect has not begun receiving briefings. Nevertheless, NCBA’s Ethan Lane said many are preparing for changes in the nation’s capitol.
In the 2016 cycle, about $6.5 billion was spent on campaigns with just less than $14 billion spent in this cycle. Lane said an additional $1 billion may be spent in the Georgia run off race. Lane said the GOP overcame fundraising and polling challenges and has retained control of the Senate by two seats.
Notably, Sens. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., and Roger Marshall, R-Kan., both of whom Lane said are friends of agriculture, will both begin their time in Washington, D.C.
Next week will mark the House Democratic leadership elections, Dec. 14 will begin the Electoral College delegation meetings and votes, Congress will reconvene on Jan. 3 with the presidential inauguration on the 20th.
Danielle Beck, senior executive director, Government Affairs said the lame duck session is still expected to be active. Work on a COVID package and appropriations to avoid a government shutdown are both priorities.
“It’s hard at this point to anticipate what the first 100 days of this administration will look like and what will be on the docket of the 117th Congress immediately, but I think we can predict a few different things,” Beck said. “It’s likely the House will take up some sort of climate legislation, whether that’s a series of small bills or an overarching package, I think we can anticipate that’s coming.”
Beck said anticipating the content is more difficult, but she notes that without the expected blue wave of Democrats and the Republican controlled Senate, the negotiations will be tempered. Beck said the negotiations within the Democrat party will be interesting between what she called the Blue Dog Democrats and the radical leadership. Beck also anticipates tax legislation and a kickoff to the farm bill process and hearings.
At the end of the Trump administration, Lane said legislative wins include the delisting of the gray wolf and a number of rulemaking processes, including the WOTUS rule. He said NCBA was instrumental in bringing forth the relief funding for cattle producers, which paid out $4.5 billion in direct payments to cattle producers with another $2 million expected in the second round. Lane said with the election results being on such a small margin, it will be difficult for a Biden administration to be overly aggressive with changes.
Traceability, product of the USA labeling, and dietary guidelines are all issues NCBA has been engaged in and issues Lane said NCBA will continue involvement.
Beck said the dietary guidelines are a win for cattle producers. Sustainability was excluded from language and positive language for beef was also included. She said the process was reasonable and transparent to support sound science.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is expected to sign SB 21-87, known as the Farm Workers Bill of Rights, though much of the content will be decided through the rulemaking process.