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Few Senators Mention Agriculture in Tax Bill Debate

Dan Economy, Industry News Release

senatorsThe Senate-passed tax bill that the House must now either accept or reconcile with its own, would have a big-impact on agriculture. Yet, few Senators even mentioned agriculture in the days-long debate leading up to the early-morning Saturday vote.

Agriculture was largely ignored in the marathon debate on the GOP Senate tax bill, that passed 51 to 49 with just one Republican defector, and all Democrats, even those from major farm states, opposed.

Despite the importance of the rural farm vote, and next year’s elections, just a handful of lawmakers said anything about agriculture. Among them, Republicans John Thune of South Dakota, Missouri’s Roy Blunt and Senate Ag Chair Pat Roberts of Kansas, who listed the bill’s ag tax breaks.

Taxes

Also included, new tax rates for small, so-called ‘pass through’ businesses, which includes most farms.

Breaks

The bill also includes a doubling to 22-million per couple—11-million per individual—of the estate tax exclusion, making it easier to pass farms onto the next generation.

Democrats complained repeatedly, the estate tax break favors the rich. Missouri’s Claire McCaskill.

Estate Tax

McCaskill and other ‘red state’ Democrats argued for days, the GOP bill is a ‘giveaway’ to the rich and corporations. Republicans insisted the middle-class and small businesses would proportionally receive huge tax cuts that would boost spending and jobs, including in agriculture.

From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.