WASHINGTON, February 15, 2012 -Congressional leaders appear to be close to reaching a deal on extending the payroll-tax cut, but proposed farm bill savings won’t be part of the package. Rumors surfaced last Thursday that Sen. Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., who is on the conference committee negotiating the tax extension package, offered the $23 billion in savings from the farm bill proposal offered last fall to the failed “supercommittee” as an offset.
“I don’t see that happening at this point,” said Chair Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. “We’re still working out some details of the Farm Bill.”
Stabenow added that once the legislation is ready, it will be made available for deficit reduction. Her committee launches a series of hearings on the farm bill Wednesday, where Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will testify on energy and rural development programs.
Stabenow made her comments after a briefing Tuesday on the payroll-tax cut extension with Senator Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. Both lawmakers stressed their party’s determination to extend unemployment insurance in the payroll-tax deal.
House Republicans agreed over the weekend to extend the payroll tax cut for 10 months, adding $100 billion to the deficit without offsets. However, Senate Democrats are also determined to extend unemployment insurance and a patch on Medicare's physician reimbursements.
Original story printed in February 15, 2012 Agri-Pulse Newsletter.
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