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Federal Policy Issues Update
Buckeye Farm News
With Congress on recess for the summer, here’s a brief look at where Ohio Farm Bureau stands on three key issues.
In June, the U.S. House approved H.R. 2642, the farm portion of the Farm Bill. The bill removes the nutrition title, which includes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, but leaves all other provisions intact.
Farm Bureau efforts are now focused on working with the House and Senate during the conference committee process in order to reconcile the differences between the two versions. The goal is to deliver a comprehensive farm bill before the expiration of the current extension in September.
In July, the U.S. Senate approved Senate Bill (S) 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. Ohio Farm Bureau strongly supported the bill, including the agricultural provisions. The bill creates a new legal status for agricultural workers: a Blue Card. In addition, the bill would establish a new visa program that allows agricultural employers to hire guestworkers.
Farm Bureau now looks forward to working with members in the House of Representative to pass responsible immigration reform legislation. It is critical that both chambers pass legislation that can be reconciled in conference and signed into law.
Federal Tax Reform
The U.S. Senate is currently taking on tax reform with a “blank slate” approach. The tax reform process was described as assuming that all special tax provisions would be eliminated unless they were shown to help the economy grow, make the tax code fairer or promote important policy objectives. The goal of this process is to produce a simpler tax code with lower tax rates.
Like their Senate counterparts, House lawmakers have said they intend to address tax code reform this fall as well. Earlier this year, Farm Bureau shared farmers’ tax priorities with a number of House Ways and Means Committee tax reform working groups.
Farm Bureau has been and will continue to be engaged with members of the Senate and House, letting them know farmers need a tax code that recognizes the financial challenges they face.