Sen. Lincoln urges Reid & Pelosi to pass stalled disaster aid, biodiesel tax break, etc.
By Stewart Doan
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.
Washington, April 2 – In a letter to House and Senate leaders Thursday, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) calls for quick passage of stalled legislation “to retroactively renew the important [tax] provisions that have already expired and to provide emergency relief, whether to farmers who have faced tremendous losses due to natural disasters, to families struggling with the loss of a job and their health insurance, or to states struggling to preserve the critical services they provide in Medicaid as part of our nation’s health care safety net.” To read comments from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) regarding the delay in reauthorizing the biodiesel tax break, go to: www.agri-pulse.com/20100402SD2.asp.
The Honorable Harry Reid
United States Senate
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House of Representatives
Dear Leader Reid and Speaker Pelosi:
As we enter the next work period, I urge swift action to complete Senate-House negotiations regarding the American Workers, State, and Business Relief Act and respectfully request that completion of this legislation be the first priority on the Congressional agenda when we return from the Easter state and district work period.
This important piece of legislation is critical to American families and businesses. It includes numerous federal tax provisions that expired in 2009, as well as assistance for unemployed Americans, fiscal relief for states to protect their Medicaid programs, increased Medicare payments for doctors, and $1.5 billion in emergency disaster relief for our nation’s farmers and ranchers who incurred significant agricultural losses last year.
our continuing efforts to restore the nation’s economy and create jobs, there
is no step more important than providing a stable economic environment for our
businesses. Without predictability in the tax code, our businesses lack the
certainty needed to plan for the future, make capital investments and hire
workers. In my home state of
the bill includes a critical extension of the policy to increase Medicare
physician payment and prevent a scheduled 21% cut from going into effect. It is
long past time that Congress find a long-term and sustainable solution for
physician payment under Medicare. While I was not in Congress when the so-called
Medicare “sustainable growth rate,” or “SGR,” payment formula was passed as
part of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, I served in the House when it was
first discussed. Even then, I opposed the notion that our government should try
to balance its budget on the backs of our nation’s health care providers. Since
2002 I have consistently supported the short-term patches Congress has made to
prevent SGR payment cuts from going into effect, since, as we have seen, this
formula is anything but sustainable. I regularly hear from
the agricultural disaster provisions would provide much-needed relief to our
nation’s farmers that were devastated by natural disasters last year.
For these reasons, it is absolutely essential this piece of legislation receive our urgent attention. Congress must act quickly to retroactively renew the important provisions that have already expired and to provide emergency relief, whether to farmers who have faced tremendous losses due to natural disasters, to families struggling with the loss of a job and their health insurance, or to states struggling to preserve the critical services they provide in Medicaid as part of our nation’s health care safety net. After meeting with many concerned Arkansans during the state work period, I cannot emphasize enough the urgency with which this legislation should be enacted. I appreciate your continued commitment to getting our economy back on track and look forward to working with you in the weeks and months ahead on this and other legislation to put Americans back to work.
Blanche L. Lincoln
cc: The Honorable Max Baucus
The Honorable Sander Levin
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