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This week in Washington: July 11-15

House poised to pass Senate GMO labeling bill before heading home for its summer recess July 15.

The biggest item of business agricultural groups will be eyeing this week is House action on the genetically engineered labeling law passed last week in the Senate. Congress also will try to wrap up other pertinent business including appropriations bills before leaving for their summer recess.

Last July, the House passed (275-150) a bill that would have made GMO labeling a purely voluntary system, while also preempting states from enacting their own GMO labeling laws. Now, with Senate passage of a quite different measure, House Agriculture Committee chairman Michael Conaway (R., Texas) and ranking member Collin Peterson (D., Minn.) have both expressed reluctant support for the compromise measure.

Conaway has indicated that the House will very likely take up the Senate bill this week, and he expects to have the votes to pass the Senate bill.

If the House does indeed adopt the Senate bill, the White House has signaled that President Obama will sign the legislation into law.

Work on appropriations bills is unlikely to take a big surge this week, leaving much of the work for Congress when they return this fall. The House has passed four of the 12 appropriations bills; the Senate has passed two, but none have been passed by both chambers and signed into law. That means there will be a substantial amount of work left for Congress when it returns in September and with little time to get everything done.

A continuing resolution to fund the government at current levels will likely be necessary; the main questions that remain are how much funding will be allocated and for how long.

Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. ET, the House Committee on Agriculture will hold a hearing to "Examine the CFTC's Proposed Rule: Regulation Automated Trading." To watch this hearing live via webcast or archived afterwards, click here.

This week secretary of agriculture Tom Vilsack will deliver remarks to the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) national convention on Wednesday. On Saturday he will participate in a panel discussion on local and regional foods during the National Governors Assn.’s annual summer meeting in Des Moines, Iowa.

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