Obama, Lincoln & soybean growers welcome House jobs bill vote, urge Senate action

By Agri-Pulse Staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, May 28 – The American Soybean Association (ASA) welcomed Friday’s 215-204 House vote, passing HR 4213, the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act. ASA noted that the bill would extend the biodiesel tax incentive through December 31, 2010, retroactive to January 1, 2010 – and that the cost of the biodiesel tax credit extension is fully offset by other measures in the bill.

President Barack Obama welcomed the House vote too, highlighting “measures that would bring much-needed relief to our nation’s families and businesses during these hard economic times.” He said the bill “extends vital unemployment benefits to help those Americans who are fighting to find a good job, and provides tax cuts for individuals and businesses to help support the economic recovery. It helps extend Small Business Administration lending efforts so our nation’s small businesses can get the credit they need to create jobs and grow.”

Obama also pointed out that the bill:

  • “includes funding to settle the long-standing discrimination claims that African-American farmers have had against the federal government and to resolve the Cobell case, helping address these painful chapters in our history.” 
  • “fully pays for its non-emergency measures by closing loopholes that allow corporations to avoid taxes by shifting their profits overseas, and by ensuring that investment managers pay the same tax rates on their earned income that the typical American worker pays.”

Obama said more congressional action is needed on “health care benefits for the unemployed, assistance to states to maintain health services and avoid layoffs of teachers, police officers and firefighters, and proposals I have put forth to support small businesses and help consumers invest in energy efficiency.” He called on the Senate to act quickly to finalize the bill “so I can sign it into law.”

Echoing President Obama, ASA President Rob Joslin said that “ASA urges the Senate to also pass H.R. 4213 when they return from the Memorial Day recess, so that it can be sent to the President, and the biodiesel tax credit can be reinstated. Extension of the biodiesel tax credit is long overdue and has been continually held up for reasons unrelated to biodiesel.”

Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) said Arkansas farmers and ranchers who have been victims of discrimination are one step closer to receiving compensation thanks to the House-passed bill which includes funds to settle Pigford claims. She said that “Today, Congress is one step closer to providing Arkansas farmers who have been victims of discrimination the compensation they deserve. The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to provide the necessary funding to settle the Pigford lawsuit, forever closing this chapter of discrimination within USDA. As Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I have urged Senate leadership to also include this funding in legislation we can pass quickly so justice can be served. I will continue to fight to ensure that every farmer in America receives equal access and treatment in the delivery of USDA programs and services.

An ASA statement noted that renewable biodiesel has provided a significant market opportunity for U.S. soybean farmers, as well as jobs and economic development for rural communities.

To press the issue with the Senate, ASA has renewed the nationwide Action Alert to its members and supporters asking them to contact their senators to urge them to pass the biodiesel tax credit extension immediately upon their return from the Memorial Day recess. “I strongly encourage all soybean farmers to contact their senators directly over the next week, in-person, via phone and email, to explain the need for the Senate to extend the biodiesel tax incentive,” Joslin said. “The biodiesel tax incentive expired on December 31, 2009, and since that time, biodiesel production and consumption has dramatically declined, biodiesel production facilities have closed, and thousands of biodiesel industry workers have lost their jobs.”

For more coverage of the tax extenders bill, go to: www.agri-pulse.com/20100528H4_Extenders_Passed.asp

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