ASA Top Legislative and Regulatory Priorities (December 2014)
ASA LEGISLATIVE AND REGULATORY PRIORITIES
Trade Expansion (Senate Finance and House Ways & Means Committees, Agriculture Committees)
- Pass Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to allow the United States to conclude new trade agreements.
- Develop low-level presence (LLP) policies domestically as well as internationally that facilitate trade and innovation.
- Achieve new market access and eliminate barriers for U.S. soy and meat in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and US-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations.
- Improve the timeliness and predictability of regulatory approvals for new biotech traits by China and the EU.
Environmental Regulations (EPA, USDA and multiple committees of jurisdiction)
- Support Congressional efforts to abolish the Waters of the U.S. proposed rule.
- Support efforts to improve pollinator habitat; oppose efforts to ban neonicotinoid crop protection products.
- Support funding for voluntary, incentive-based programs to achieve water quality and environmental goals.
- Ensure that wetland determinations by NRCS are accurate and timely.
Biotech and Food Regulations (USDA, EPA, FDA, and multiple committees of jurisdiction)
- Support and seek co-sponsorship of legislation to establish Federal labeling standards for foods containing biotech ingredients to prevent a patchwork of state requirements.
- Modify FDA’s proposal to withdraw GRAS status for partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
- Accelerate EPA approvals for biotech traits and pesticide labels.
Biodiesel Demand (EPA and multiple committees of jurisdiction)
- Compel EPA to establish biodiesel and advanced biofuel volume requirements according to statutory deadlines. Establish 2014 biodiesel volumes at 1.7 billion gallons for 2014, 2 billion gallons for 2015, and proposing 2016 volumes to accommodate growing domestic production and expected imports.
- Oppose EPA’s action to facilitate imports of biodiesel from Argentina while 2014-2016 RFS levels have not been established.
- Extend the biodiesel tax incentive for 2015 and beyond and shift it from a blenders to a production credit.
- Prevent legislative efforts to repeal or reduce the RFS for biodiesel.
Transportation and Infrastructure (Senate Environment & Public Works Committee and Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee, House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, Energy & Water Appropriations Subcommittee)
- Support enactment of a highway reauthorization bill that adequately funds infrastructure improvements, continues hours of service exemption for agriculture, and increases weight limits for six-axle trucks.
- Provide funding for Navigation Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP) on Upper Mississippi River, increase funding for Inland Waterways Trust Fund and Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund.
- Support reauthorization and reform of the Surface Transportation Board that increases rail oversight and provides a more balanced playing field for shippers with rail rate disputes and service issues.
FY-2016 Budget and Appropriations (Agriculture and Appropriations Committees)
Protect funding for crop insurance, export market development programs (FMD and MAP), food aid, agricultural research, conservation practices on working lands, and Inland Waterways and Harbor Maintenance Trust Funds.
Tax Issues (Senate Finance and House Ways & Means Committees)
- Section 179 Expensing – Renew, and make permanent Section 179 expensing cap of $500,000.
- Bonus Depreciation – Maintain 50% level for new capital assets, including agricultural equipment.
- Accounting – Allow farmers to continue utilizing cash-based accounting, regardless of size.
- Biodiesel – Extend the biodiesel tax incentive for 2015 and beyond and change to a production credit.
Aquaculture (Senate Commerce and House Natural Resources Committees)
Support regulatory initiatives to promote a U.S.-based aquaculture industry.