Russia blows up Black Sea grain deal
With help from Meredith Lee, Jones Hayden, Elena Schneider and Annie Snider
— Russia suspended the Black Sea grains deal over the weekend, a move that will strain food supplies in regions facing famine. Moscow said it was in response to an attack in Crimea, but the United States accused the Kremlin of manufacturing food as a weapon.
— Election watch: Georgia Democrats rely on strong ground game to lift Senator Ag Committee.
— Water is the number one concern for US agriculture, and the Department of the Interior has said it will cut deliveries from the Colorado River next year. Meanwhile, the White House hosted a forum on the rapidly depleting water levels of the Mississippi River.
SPECIAL REQUEST: Send us your political letters! We seek to bring more transparency to the electoral process. How you can help: Send us photos of campaign ads you received in the mail. You can upload photos here or email them to [email protected].
Would you like to receive this newsletter every day of the week? To subscribe to POLITICO Pro. You’ll also receive daily political news and other information you need to take action on the biggest stories of the day.
SALE OF CEREAL IN SUSPENSION: Russia froze the deal allowing critical grain to leave Ukrainian ports, citing an attack on Russian-occupied Crimea that Moscow blamed on Ukraine, writes Jones Hayden.
The context: The grain deal was negotiated with the help of the UN and Turkey, which sought to ensure the safe passage of grain from Ukraine to vulnerable countries that depend on Ukraine for exports of cereals. It was seen as essential for food-insecure countries to avoid widespread starvation and starvation, as Ukraine is a breadbasket for Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
US response: The United States has slammed Russia’s decision to renege on the deal, with President Joe Biden calling it “purely outrageous” in an exchange with reporters in Delaware. Biden added that it would increase starvation.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that by “suspending this arrangement, Russia is again militarizing food in the war it started.”
Race to repair: The UN and Turkey are racing to bring Russia back into the fold. The Joint Coordination Center – the body set up by the UN, Turkey, Russia and Ukraine to coordinate food exports from Ukrainian ports – said it was “discussing next steps” following the Moscow’s decision to suspend the Black Sea agreement.
But Russia appears to be digging in, with Ambassador Anatoly Antonov instead calling Washington’s response to the alleged Crimea attack “truly outrageous”.
Ukrainian officials have long feared that Russia could disrupt the deal as part of an effort to inflict maximum damage on Ukraine’s agriculture-dependent economy before winter.
“In reality, new ships weren’t already arriving for several weeks, because there was a long line of ships waiting for the [checkpoint] in Istanbul” as Russia tried to slow down the process, a Ukrainian official told Meredith.
ELECTION IN GEORGIA: In 2020, an impressive Democratic floor game propelled the party to a Senate majority as Sens. Warnock and Jon Ossoff beat two Republican incumbents, reports Elena Schneider.
Ossoff, although not on the ballot this year, is helping Warnock’s campaign by reviving a grassroots organization that tested innovative ways to get citizens unlikely to vote to run two years ago. The methods helped mobilize Democratic voters in sufficient numbers to overthrow the Senate.
Why is this important: Warnock has a seat on the Senate Agriculture Committee — a more powerful nomination this year as lawmakers prepare to craft the more than half a trillion-dollar farm bill for 2023. Warnock used his farm credibility to strengthen its campaign with Georgian farmers.
But the race remains tied even though Walker, a former Georgia Bulldog Heisman Trophy winner and pro football star, is embroiled in numerous scandals.
The race could become the Senate majority decider as Democrats try to hold on to their slim 50-50 margin.
Ossoff’s strategy, known as a “paid relationship” organization, pays people to talk politics with their close friends. “Community mobilizers” are usually people with little electoral history who may be able to connect with like-minded people.
But this time they face headwinds from motivated Republican voters looking to oust Democrats from power, rather than strong anti-Trump sentiment in 2020.
a trickle is also a possibility in Georgia. Georgia’s GOP-controlled legislature dramatically tightened runoff rules in 2021, shortening the period from nine to four weeks, while limiting early voting and essentially eliminating the ability to register new voters in a runoff. .
TURN OFF THE TAP : The Department of the Interior has announced plans to act quickly to reduce water deliveries from the rapidly drying Colorado River, which could further cut off water flow to farms in the western United States. United, reports Annie Snider.
The context: The Colorado River and its reservoirs, Lake Powell and Lake Mead, are the primary source of water for large swathes of the western United States. But the river and lakes have dried up at a rapid rate and another dry winter is expected. This could cause Lake Powell to fall under hydroelectric turbines by November 2023, threatening the power grid and the ability to send water downstream to Arizona, California and Nevada.
Hourly: Interior said it is revamping the tank guidelines on an “accelerated” schedule and expects to issue a draft supplemental environmental impact statement in spring 2023 and issue a final EIA and a record of decision in late summer 2023, so that the new guidelines can be in place when the Bureau of Reclamation establishes operations for the 2023-2024 water year in August.
Interior said the notice of intent will be open for public comment until Dec. 20, and that when the supplemental EIS is released, it plans to hold a 45-day public comment period.
Meanwhile, the White House convened a CEO roundtable last week to discuss government action on the other fast-drying river, the Mississippi. An essential gateway for agricultural products, the Mississippi has fallen to historically low water levels.
According to a WH reading, “Industry and government officials discussed ongoing actions to maintain safe and stable navigation of the river system,” including dredging to maintain adequate depths for navigation.
—Christine McDaniel, senior fellow at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center and former government trade expert, write an editorial in The Hill on the impending biotech corn feud with Mexico.
—An investigation into the president of the Senate in charge of foreign relations Bob Mendez (DN.J.), seems to be linked to a halal meat certification company, The New York Times reports. The nature and extent of the investigation are not yet clear. Readers may remember Menendez as a senator holding the confirmation of Doug McKalip, Biden’s nominee for chief agricultural negotiator in the office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
—In response to a persistent drought, farmers are trying to increase their sources of income in the West, The Wall Street Journal reports. This includes tourism, new crops and permission to hunt on their land.
THAT’S ALL FOR MY. Write U.S: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected].