A Chinese company’s acquisition of the U.S.’ largest pork producer, Smithfield Foods, could pose serious economic and national security issues for the United States, senators warned on Wednesday.
During a committee hearing Wednesday, senators said they worried that Shanghui International’s acquisition could usurp sales by American companies in other overseas markets. They also said they are concerned that China could eventually export pork to the United States that does not meet American safety standards.
“We need to evaluate how foreign purchases of our food supply will affect our economy broadly, and frankly, whether there is a level playing field when it comes to these kinds of business purchases,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). “In the short term, I know this deal looks good for our producers,” she added. “But it’s our job to be thinking about the big picture and the long term for American food security and economic security.” - Read more at The New York Times
HOUSE VOTES ON FARM BILL SPLIT The House is scheduled to vote today on a split farm bill that contains subsidies for farmers but does not reauthorize the food stamp program. The decision to split the bill emerged after the House’s comprehensive farm legislation was defeated last month largely because Democrats and Republicans couldn’t cut a deal on food stamps. Democrats said the House bill cut too much from the program (about $20.5 billion) while conservatives wanted deeper cuts.
Regardless, the bill has little support from Democrats and the White House threatened to veto the measure. - Read more at The Hill
SURPRIE SURPLUS! The Treasury is expected to report a June surplus of $40 billion this afternoon. That’s compared to last year’s $60 billion deficit. The $100 billion difference is largely attributed to the payments of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The surplus, among a slew of other positive economic data, could make the possibility for a grand bargain this fall less likely, since Democrats are done with austerity measures, as Politico’s Ben White points out, and Republicans are still focused on reining in the long-term deficit. - Read more at Politico
REGULATORS REACH DEAL TO REIN IN OVERSEAS TRADING The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s plan reins in risky trading by banks overseas. The deal involves greater cross-border oversight and more scrutiny of firms like Goldman Sachs International and Citigroup’s London branch. The plan will also defer to European regulators if they ultimately agree to scrutinize banks in a way that is similar to the monitoring done by the trading commission. - Read more at The New York Times
BOEHNER: GOP NEEDS TO ACT ON IMMIGRATION In a closed-door meeting Wednesday, Speaker John Boehner, (R-OH) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) urged their House Republican colleagues to pass immigration reform, adding that not acting would put them in a “much weaker position.” The Republicans met for more than two hours in the basement of the Capitol to hash out a response to the Senate’s comprehensive immigration bill that was approved last month. After the meeting, lawmakers told reporters that the House would likely wait until after the August recess to act, although votes on individual border security measures were possible before then. - Read more at The Hill