Senate votes 83-15 to proceed with final vote on tax cut compromise

By Jon H. Harsch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, Dec. 13 - As expected, the Senate voted 83-15 Monday in a procedural cloture vote to move toward final passage of the compromise tax cut deal worked out by President Obama and Senate Republicans. If the Senate passes the bill, expected to take place Tuesday, the measure goes to the House where liberal Democrats strongly oppose the bill as being too generous toward “the wealthiest two percent.”

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Pleased with Senate support for the bill, President Obama is urging the House to pass the bill quickly, saying “if there's one thing we can agree on, it's the urgent work of protecting middle-class families, removing uncertainty for America's businesses, and giving our economy a boost as we head into the new year.”

Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen joined in welcoming the Senate cloture vote for the bill which includes extending ethanol tax breaks. He said “The Senate has taken an important step to keep America on the path toward greater energy self-reliance. We encourage the Senate to move as swiftly as possible to pass this measure. By extending key tax incentives for ethanol production and use, new and existing ethanol technologies can continue to develop and evolve with some confidence.”

Highlighting another section of the bill, National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) President Steve Foglesong welcomed solid Senate support for not only extending the Bush tax cuts for two years but also raising the exemption from estate taxes to $5 million per individual, with the rate above the exemption lowered to 35%. He said that “Farmers, ranchers and small business owners need relief from this tax that could put them out of business. The Reid/McConnell amendment is our best shot at stopping the death tax from returning to devastating levels.”

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