D.C. Watch: Debt ceiling debate next on U.S. agenda

decrease font size  Resize text   increase font size       Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

The debate over raising the debt ceiling is probably the next battleground in Washington. The Secretary of the Treasury has informed Congress that the current debt ceiling has been reached and unless Congress raises the ceiling within the next couple of months, the government will be unable to pay its bills.

It appears that the debate over the debt ceiling will be just as contentions as the recent efforts to avoid (temporarily) the fiscal cliff.

Republicans are going to demand spending cuts and Democrats say they won’t include spending cuts in the debt ceiling debate. But spending cuts have to be discussed at about the same time frame. Policymakers agreed on changes in taxes at the beginning of the month, but just delayed the automatic spending cuts for 2 months. Interestingly, the recently approved extension of the farm bill could be superseded by new laws that come out of this upcoming debate.

There were some key tax provisions that are very important to farmers included in the fiscal cliff bill passed last week.

While the calculations became more complicated most farmers will still be subject to a capital gains tax rate of 15 percent. High income farmers may see rates between 20 percent and 25 percent.

The Section 179 deduction will be $500,000 for both 2012 and 2013. At least the way the law is structured now, the deduction drops back to $25,000 in 2014. Farmers who invest in new assets can take advantage of 50 percent bonus depreciation. The assets must be new – not used.

The estate tax exemption for 2013 will be $5.25 million per person. The tax rates on estates larger than $5.25 million will be 40 percent, up from 35 percent in 2012. These tax incentives are designed to encourage investment, helping to support economic growth.

House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson, D-Minn, wants assurances that a farm bill passed by the Agriculture Committee will be brought to a vote in the full House of Representatives. The bill passed by the Committee last year was never brought up for a vote, and Peterson says that without a guarantee that legislation will be debated by the full House, Democrats on the Committee won’t work on a new farm bill. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., plans to begin work on a new farm bill very soon.

Senator Thad Cochran, R-Miss., has replaced Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan., as ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. This change could have significant implications for any farm bill developed by the Senate Agriculture Committee. Senator Cochran is a supporter of price-based safety net programs while Senator Roberts was a key player in the development of the “shallow loss” revenue based provisions approved by the Senate last year. Senator Cochran has seniority over Senator Roberts which allowed him to claim the seat on the committee.

Two new food safety rules have been proposed by the Food and Drug Administration. One would require food makers to develop a formal plan for preventing their products from causing foodborne illnesses. They would also have to develop plans to correct any problems that arise. The second rule would set “enforceable safety standards for the production and harvesting of produce on farms. The proposed rules are nearly 550 pages long and FDA will need additional funding to enforce the proposed rules. That may not happen in the current budget environment.

The Mississippi River will stay open – at least through mid-January, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps has been working to remove rock formations that could impede navigation on the River between St. Louis, Mo. and Cairo, Ill.

The Corps says enough rocks will be removed to sustain a 9-foot navigation channel. The Corps has also released water from some reservoirs upriver to help keep this critical transportation corridor open. However, it is not clear that the river will remain open after the middle of January.

Buyers Guide

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing Co.
Doyle Equipment Manufacturing prides themselves as being “The King of the Rotary’s” with their Direct Drive Rotary Blend Systems. With numerous setup possibilities and sizes, ranging from a  more...
A.J. Sackett Sons & Company
Sackett Blend Towers feature the H.I.M, High Intensity Mixer, the next generation of blending and coating technology which supports Precision Fertilizer Blending®. Its unique design allows  more...
R&R Manufacturing Inc.
The R&R Minuteman Blend System is the original proven performer. Fast, precise blending with a compact foot print. Significantly lower horsepower requirement. Low inload height with large  more...
Junge Control Inc.
Junge Control Inc. creates state-of-the-art product blending and measuring solutions that allow you to totally maximize operating efficiency with amazing accuracy and repeatability, superior  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The flagship blending system for the Layco product line is the fully automated Layco DW System™. The advanced technology of the Layco DW (Declining Weight) system results in a blending  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The LAYCOTE™ Automated Coating System provides a new level of coating accuracy for a stand-alone coating system or for coating (impregnating) in an automated blending system. The unique  more...
John Deere
The DN345 Drawn Dry Spreader can carry more than 12 tons of fertilizer and 17.5 tons of lime. Designed to operate at field speeds up to 20 MPH with full loads and the G4 spreader uniformly  more...
Force Unlimited
The Pro-Force is a multi-purpose spreader with a wider apron and steeper sides. Our Pro-Force has the most aggressive 30” spinner on the market, and is capable of spreading higher rates of  more...
BBI Spreaders
MagnaSpread 2 & MagnaSpread 3 — With BBI’s patented multi-bin technology, these spreaders operate multiple hoppers guided by independent, variable-rate technology. These models are built on  more...

Comments (0) Leave a comment 

e-Mail (required)


characters left

Declining Weigh Blending System

Ranco Declining Weigh (DW) is the standard in fertilizer blending because of the speed and accuracy of the blending process. ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form