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Ag Issues Again Wait on Last Minute Congressional Spending Decisions

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Grassley on ag issues

indiana-farmers-congressTop end-of-year farm issues hang in the balance as Congress struggles to complete a big spending bill to cover the rest of the fiscal year and those same farm issues are what seem to be holding things up. Waters of the U.S. repeal, Country-of-Origin labeling repeal, GMO food labeling, among others all remain in limbo as Congress is winding down the current session within the next week.

Lawmakers are also complicating completion of a huge spending bill that’s stuck in negotiations over what riders to include or remove from the bill to keep the government funded for the rest of the fiscal year, according to Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley.

“If it’s not done by Friday we’ll have to pass a short term funding resolution to get us through another week until it gets done. I don’t think we’re going to be in session beyond December the 18th. I’d be very surprised if we did.”

Without a full spending bill to cover the next nine months, those top agriculture issues all could fall by the wayside as Congress passes more short-term extensions, meaning the ag issues would be another casualty of a failed appropriations process.

“It’s too bad the Senate didn’t take up the bipartisan Hoeven-Stabenow bill,” Grassley said. “It’s a common sense approach that would address the issues that Canada and Mexico have with our Country of Origin labeling. Also being considered, of interest to agriculture and food processors is the effort to prevent a patchwork of GMO labels across the country that are passed by different state legislatures.”

Tax break extenders is different, however, with both the House and Senate now considering a two-year extension after talks on a comprehensive long-term bill favored by the House saw little progress.

“And I don’t want to say we can’t get a broader package of tax issues, but the chairman of the finance committee in the Senate said that the fallback position would be the 2 year extension.”

The “fallback” is likely to include section 179 expensing, bonus depreciation and the biodiesel blenders’ credit.

Source: NAFB News