ASA Top Legislative and Regulatory Priorities (July 2015)
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.
- 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.
- Repeal Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) for beef, pork and chicken products to avoid retaliation by Canada and Mexico.
- Develop low-level presence (LLP) policies domestically as well as internationally that facilitate trade and innovation in biotech products.
- 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)
- Request co-sponsorship and enactment in 2015 of legislation to establish voluntary 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; Senate Finance and House Ways & Means Committees)
- Extend the biodiesel tax incentive for 2015 and beyond and shift it from a blenders to a production credit.
- Advocate for increases in RFS biomass-based diesel volume requirements above levels in EPA Proposed Rule.
Transportation and Infrastructure (Senate Environment & Public Works Committee and Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee, House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, Appropriations Committees)
- 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.
- Support enactment of Energy & Water Appropriations bill that includes increased funding for Inland Waterways Trust Fund and Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and urge inclusion of funding for Navigation Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP) on Upper Mississippi River.
- 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)
- Accounting – Allow farmers to continue utilizing cash-based accounting, regardless of size.
- 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.
- Biodiesel – Extend the biodiesel tax incentive for 2015 and beyond and change to a production credit.
Child Nutrition Reauthorization (Senate Agriculture and House Education & the Workforce Committees)
Support removing the paperwork burden for schools that offer soy milk to students.