With a vote of 257-167 late Tuesday night, the House of Representatives concurred with the Senate in passing a package to avert the fiscal cliff that includes an extension of the 2008 Farm Bill, funding and authorizing key farm, research and nutrition programs through the end of the 2013 fiscal year in September. American Soybean Association (ASA) President Danny Murphy, a soybean farmer from Canton, Miss., released the following statement on the vote:
“As we have been working with our colleagues on Capitol Hill for more than two years on a comprehensive, five-year bill, we are very disappointed that Congress was not able to come together and pass a new bill in the best interests of farmers. However, the extension of the 2008 Farm Bill allows important foreign market development, disaster assistance, and farm safety net programs to continue.
“ASA is also pleased that the larger package passed by both the House and the Senate to avert the fiscal cliff, of which the extension was a part, included a meaningful solution to the estate tax challenges faced by farm families and many other small businesses. The deal provides for a tax rate of 40% on estates with a value greater than $5 million, or $10 million/couple, and is indexed to inflation. All changes to the estate tax under the fiscal cliff package are permanent.
"Additionally, ASA welcomes the extension of the biodiesel tax incentive of $1, included in the fiscal cliff deal, and retroactive to 2012 and on through 2013. Both the estate tax solution and the extension of the biodiesel tax incentive are top priorities for ASA.
“While the extension is certainly preferable to the alternative of no bill at all, and prevents outdated permanent agricultural law enacted in the 1930s and 1940s from going into effect, it is only a stopgap measure, which does not provide the long-term certainty and stability that farmers need. Once the extension expires at the end of the fiscal year in September, we will be left at the same impasse we’ve had since the House Agriculture Committee passed its farm bill in July unless our elected leaders can find a way to come back to the bargaining table with a renewed focus on what’s important, not just for soybean farmers, but for all of agriculture and for the nation as a whole. It’s imperative that our members of Congress in both chambers and in both parties move past party politics and get the job done this time.
“As always, ASA is ready to work with the Senate and House Agriculture Committees to craft and pass a new farm bill before the current extension expires at the end of September.”