TSCRA Government & Public Affairs Roundup: Tax reform and making sure ag is included in disaster recovery
This week, TSCRA signed onto a letter by Congressman Mike Conaway, chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture. The letter urges House and Senate appropriations leaders to ensure farm and ranch families are a full part of Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts and the nation’s food supply is protected from future natural disasters. It also includes a proposed framework to address agricultural concerns in a supplemental appropriations bill.
Tax reform also continues to push forward in Washington. The bill is currently in conference committee, where differences between the House and Senate version are being reconciled. Details on the compromise legislation are expected as early as Friday. TSCRA Government and Public Affairs staff will continue to monitor the progress and engage key lawmakers as necessary.
A decade ago, many border Texans got a raw deal when the federal government seized land for a barrier — while others pushed up the price. Will the government’s rushed, haphazard process be repeated as it pushes for a border wall? The Texas Tribune and ProPublica, which produces investigative journalism in the public interest, partnered on this project to expose the federal government’s use of eminent domain to seize land for a fence along the U.S -Mexico border. Read more…
Republican leaders on Wednesday reached an agreement on their final tax bill, paving the way for an overhaul of the federal tax code by Christmas. The bill, also known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, is in a conference committee to iron out discrepancies between the House and Senate versions that those chambers passed. The final bill could have significant changes. Business Insider takes a look at what the reported changes that have been agreed upon. Read more…
U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) today led a bipartisan group of colleagues in calling for delayed implementation of electronic logging devices (ELDs) for commercial motor vehicles transporting livestock or insects. The senators’ letter to Senate leadership supports a provision in the U.S. House-passed Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill delaying implementation of ELDs and providing the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) time to make the necessary adjustments to hours of service rules to address animal welfare concerns.
The U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Ways and Means says coast to coast, support for historic tax reform legislation is growing. As lawmakers from both chambers of Congress meet to bring together the best ideas from both the House and Senate versions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, people from across the country continue to voice their support for this pro-growth legislation. One of these supporters is TSCRA Director Arthur Uhl, who penned a column in the Waco Tribune-Herald about how tax reform will bolster Texas ranchers and farmers.
TSCRA Government and Public Affairs Roundup: Tax reform, Transportation ELD and HOS rules, WOTUS testimony
This week TSCRA Government and Public Affairs staff kept an eye on federal tax reform activities in Washington D.C., submitted official comments to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to weigh in on the request for a waiver from the livestock industry on the agency’s Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) and Hours of Service (HOS) rule, and signed on to comments about WOTUS submitted to the EPA.
Craig Uden, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, released a statement Nov. 22 in response to a D Circuit Court’s decision to stay a mandate that agricultural entities file reports under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). Uden said agricultural operations were never intended to be regulated by these laws, so this court-ordered stay until Jan. 22 was very welcome news.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced on Nov. 20 that in advance of the Dec. 18, 2017, implementation of the Congressionally-mandated electronic logging device (ELD) rule, and to further facilitate transition to the rule by motor carriers, the agency will be providing guidance related to enforcement procedures during the ELD transition. These will include a 90-day temporary waiver from the ELD requirement for transporters of agricultural commodities, including livestock.
TSCRA Government and Public Affairs staff are continuing to engage in tax reform legislation in Washington, NAFTA talks in Mexico, and attending a fever tick forum in Kingsville. Read more…
TSCRA President Richard Thorpe issued a statement Thursday commending the passage of the U.S. House’s extensive tax reform bill. “We applaud today’s passage of comprehensive tax reform, which includes numerous provisions that will reduce taxes on hard-working ranching families as they work to grow and pass on their operations to future generations…”