There may be a possibility of action on the Trans Pacific Partnership as early as this summer in the House Ways and Means Committee. Committee Chair Kevin Brady said action would only happen if the Obama Administration resolves concerns that Republicans and some Democrats have on the trade deal. A handful of issues affecting pharmaceuticals, financial services, tobacco, and a few other segments are blocking action on the agreement. Brady said it’s incumbent on the US Trade Representative’s Office to come up with solutions for those concerns in order to build support for the agreement.

A House subcommittee hearing appeared to be the first unofficial step in development of the 2018 Farm Bill. Farm leaders testified about the importance of commodity supports. The committee members pointed out that it’s time to look beyond the farm safety net for deficit reduction and budget savings. Farmers have already shouldered their share of that burden, according to farm leaders at the hearing.  Farmers Union President Roger Johnson noted that overall Title 1 programs are working, but he says there are some problems with the ARC Program that most farmers signed up for.

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