Congress Puts Work on Hold. I'm Greg Martin with today's Line On Agriculture.
Congress came back to work on Capitol Hill after the August recess for a little more than two weeks. Now they're back in recess again to hit the campaign trail before election day.
Maslyn: It was quite a stretch. They came back from the summer break in mid-September and they're gone again. And not much has been accomplished.
American Farm Bureau Public Policy Director Mark Maslyn says the big issue left on hold was tax cuts.
Maslyn: Capital gains taxes and estate taxes and the 140-some other tax provisions, including the biodiesel tax credit and the ethanol tax credit, have been left to wait until a lame duck session. It's just another example of things not getting done that should be done. The list is very long.
That lame duck session is scheduled to start November 15th, with a Thanksgiving break thrown in. So how much will they really be able to get done before the end of the year?
Maslyn: At the end of the year Congress will have to deal with the spending package, how to fund this government. They have not passed one appropriations bill in the past year and so they will have an omnibus spending package that they will enact. That has to be done. They will do something about some of the tax provisions. You just don't know which ones at this point.
And what they don't get done?
Maslyn: At that point all the legislation that's been introduced in the past two years expires and everything has to be reintroduced and all cosponsors have to be resigned and hearings will be held and the process starts all over again.
Maslyn talks about the impact of congressional inaction on some of the renewable fuels tax provisions.
Maslyn: You've got biodiesel plants that have been shut down, workers laid off because of the uncertainty of whether or not this tax credit will be extended and that occurred last year. So these people have been out of work, plants shut down for the year. It's an example of what happens when Congress doesn't do its job.
He says there is uncertainty when Congress is in gridlock.
Maslyn: The effect on the public is uncertainty, continued uncertainty as to how all of these tax provisions are ultimately going to play out, which ones get fixed, how they get fixed, which ones don't get fixed and how it affects you, your neighbors as citizens and businessmen and women.
That's today's Line On Agriculture. I'm Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.