There is growing momentum for House action on immigration reform before the August recess, one Washington observer told me this morning. Lawmakers and advocates don’t want to walk away from the work that the Senate has accomplished already on immigration reform.

The House effort will have to be bipartisan, of course,  because some Republicans will not vote for immigration reform in any circumstances, the source noted. The Republicans will have to have a clear idea of the number of supporters they can whip for a bill before they proceed.

The timing of the process is critical, with the window for action becoming more squeezed as the election season draws closer.

On the other hand, another lobbyist said he believes immigration reform may be attempted in the lame duck session after the election. Republicans may not be too concerned about the Hispanic voter turnout for the 2014 election, but will be motivated to have the issue behind them before 2016. Another pivotal period will be March 2015, when the federal debt limit must be raised. Republicans may want to hold the immigration issue in reserve as a bargaining chip until then, he speculated.

 A produce industry issue that is still in-process is conservation compliance requirements for specialty crop producers who sign up for federal crop insurance. The conservation requirements are expected to apply to all tiers of crop insurance options. The actual elements of a conservation compliance plan will depend on what commodity is produced and where the farm is, the source said. Regulations related to conservation compliance for specialty crops are expected to be published in the Federal Register.

 Another Washington lobbyist said the FDA’s work on identifying high-risk foods is drawing big interest. Comments are due to the FDA on May 22.

Only a few comments have been recorded so far to this notice, but that will change before May 22. The lobbyist said he finds it  hard to believe that FDA will finish its work on FSMA rulemaking by the mandated deadline of July 2015.


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