ASA Top Legislative and Regulatory Priorities (December 2014)
Risk Management and Farm Policy (Agriculture Committees & USDA)
- Work to ensure timely implementation and producer sign-up under the Agricultural Act of 2014.
- Safeguard Farm Bill and Crop Insurance from cuts under potential Budget Reconciliation.
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.
- Lead efforts to accelerate USDA and EPA approvals for biotech traits and pesticide labels.
Trade Expansion (Senate Finance and House Ways & Means Committees, Agriculture Committees)
- 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.
- Challenge trade restrictions to U.S. soy resulting from the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive.
- Pass Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to allow the United States to conclude new trade agreements.
- Improve the timeliness and predictability of regulatory approvals for new biotech traits by China, the EU, and other major markets; pursue low-level presence policies domestically and internationally.
- Establish a 2014-2015 RFS Final Rule with biodiesel volumes at or above 1.7 billion gallons (EPA)
- Prevent legislative efforts to repeal or reduce the RFS for biodiesel (Senate Environment & Public Works, House Energy & Commerce)
- Extend the biodiesel tax incentive for 2015 and beyond (Senate Finance, House Ways & Means).
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 includes continuation of the hours of service exemption for agriculture, increases weight limits for six-axle trucks, and funds the critical freight corridors program.
- Increase funding for Inland Waterways Trust Fund, Navigation Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP) on Upper Mississippi River, and Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund.
- Support reauthorization and reform of the Surface Transportation Board that increases leverage for rail customers.
Environmental Regulations (EPA and multiple committees of jurisdiction)
- Support Congressional efforts to abolish the Waters of the U.S. proposed rule.
- Oppose EPA actions to supersede state authority in the Chesapeake Bay and other watersheds.
- Eliminate duplicative pesticide permitting requirements.
- Support efforts to improve pollinator habitat; oppose efforts to ban neonicotinoid crop protection products.
Tax Issues (Senate Finance and House Ways & Means Committees)
- Section 179 Expensing – Restore maximum amount of expensing under Section 179 to $500,000.
- Bonus Depreciation – Reinstate 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.
FY-2016 Appropriations (Appropriations Committees)
Protect funding for export market development programs (FMD and MAP), food aid, agricultural research, crop insurance, conservation practices on working lands, Inland Waterways and Harbor Maintenance Trust Funds.
Aquaculture (Senate Commerce and House Natural Resources Committees)
Support regulatory initiatives for a U.S.-based aquaculture industry.