Key for Agriculture Hangs in the Balance

Dan Economy, Industry News Release

keyTax Reform key for agriculture and other sectors, hangs in the balance this week as the Senate takes an expected razor-thin vote on a budget bill crucial to passing tax reform.

The fate of tax reform, a top priority of the president and GOP, will likely be determined by this week’s Senate vote on a so-called ‘reconciliation’ budget.

American Farm Bureau budget adviser RJ Karney says it’s that budget which will allow Republicans to pass tax reform without any votes from Democrats, who largely argue the still incomplete reform package favors the wealthy.

Republicans control 52-Senate votes, leaving them just a two-vote cushion, with the Vice-President likely to break a 50-50 tie. And several GOP votes may be in question, with at least two tied to deficit spending in the Senate budget.

That could cost the votes of deficit hawks, including Rand Paul of Kentucky and maybe Bob Corker of Tennessee, while other GOP votes—Susan Collins and John McCain—were still in question, and Mississippi’s Thad Cochran, recovering from an illness, was expected back this week.

Also closely watched are Democrats Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana, both up for reelection in states that President Trump handily won last year.