Congress faces a March 31 deadline to keep aid flowing to more than 100,000 transportation construction projects around the country. The two-year, $109 billion transportation bill before the Senate has wide, bipartisan support, but it's become a magnet for pet projects and partisan gamesmanship.
The Democratically controlled Senate killed Republican efforts late this week to overturn several of the Obama administration's environmental and energy policies.
Amendments voted down Thursday included GOP proposals to:
- speed construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, - delay tougher emissions standards for industrial boilers
- and expand offshore oil drilling.
Speaking at a conference in Washington last week, President Obama announced new incentives for conservation and rejected the notion that Americans must choose between energy and the environment.
The Department of Agriculture kept domestic corn and soybean ending stock numbers steady while cutting wheat carryout modestly.
USDA left domestic corn ending stocks unchanged at an estimated 801 million bushels. While the numbers failed to change significantly, USDA lowered the estimated price range by a dime to $5.90 to $6.50 per bushel.
Global corn ending stocks were reduced by nearly 1 percent to 124.53 million metric tons. The number was larger than pre-report estimates despite expectations of a larger Brazilian crop.
Stocks-to-use ratios for both world and domestic corn remain historically tight.
Domestic soybean numbers were even with last month as well at 275 million bushels. USDA boosted the price range 30 cents to $11.40 to $12.60 per bushel.
World soybean ending stocks were lowered almost 3 million metric tons in light of lower South American production to 57.3 million metric tons. The stocks-to-use ratio is at 22.5 percent and, according to some analysts there is little room for a shortfall.
Domestic wheat ending stocks were reduced by 20 million bushels over the February report to 845 million bushels. A few analysts called the number neutral as stocks are being judged as adequate to meet demand.
World wheat ending stocks fell 3.5 million metric tons to hit 209.58 million metric tons. The drop puts world ending stocks-to-use ratios at 31 percent – the largest in nearly a decade – leaving some analysts to call the number bearish.