Veteran Lobbyist Mary Kay Thatcher Hopes for December Action for USMCA RatificationFri, 15 Nov 2019 09:44:28
At the National Association of Farm Broadcasters annual convention in Kansas City, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays caught up with Mary Kay Thatcher, Senior Lead of Federal Government relations for Syngenta. Thatcher, who for years worked as senior lobbyist for the American Farm Bureau, says Washington DC always presents a certain amount of drama, but right now the spotlight ahead of the Thanksgiving Holiday is keeping the government open- “They’ve got to do something about funding the federal government. They kicked the can down the road till November 21 to get them this far, but now they are going to kick it till December 20. So by the time it passes, if it passes, it will be 3 months into the new year and we won’t know what in the world we are doing on funding. So that will get done next week.”
Thatcher doesn’t think USMCA will get done before Thanksgiving, but is hopeful it might be complete by Christmas, “People are working hard. They are making progress on USMCA but its very slow and its very hard to gain any perspective on it with the impeachment stuff.”
With all the impeachment buzz coming out of Washington, its hard to figure out what is actually being done. Thatcher agrees it changes from one day to the next depending on perspective. So, are we making any progress? Thatcher thinks so, “Oh I think we are better off; we are making progress. My big fear is that President Trump has said ‘If we don’t get this done, I’m just going to pull us out of NAFTA’, well, that’s probably a 12 or 13 billion dollar Ag export hit if that happens, which would be pretty catastrophic for us.” Thatcher goes onto say she is hopeful that we will make progress, hopefully by December, but will be hard to say with the Impeachment proceedings happening.
As far as things that Need to be done in Congress Currently, Thatcher says there will be an announcement on the 30th of November on the small refinery exemptions and what happens with RFS, and that could present good news, or bad news for agriculture. Thatcher Adds, “You know we are down to the point now that if you don’t have a regulation, no matter who is doing it, be pretty far down on proposal, it won’t get done in the Trump Administration. So if he wins again, then that just continues, but if he loses there are claw back revisions, that the next EPA Administrator, or whoever has the right, can come in and overturn it.” Right now, Thatcher says they are putting a lot of pressure on everyone they can to move those regulations before that point and time.
Thatcher said one of the big issues going right now is what happens with genetically engineered crops. She says USDA has put out a pretty good proposal, but EPA and the Food and Drug administration move slowly, “if they put out something that is different from USDA then its going to be hard to manage and if they don’t put out anything, we aren’t going to get there. So there’s a lot of those things we just have to keep a lot of pressure on in the next 4 months.”
Mary Kay Thatcher and Ron Hays talk these issues and more. Listen to the complete interview by clicking on the listen bar below.
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