In the final hours of the 109th Congress, the National Corn Growers Association says it is looking for action on trade agreement language granting permanent most-favored nation status to Vietnam. Another measure includes legislative language to begin development of the Outer Continental Shelf for natural gas production and extend energy tax incentives.

Although the final hours of Congress are riddled with both chambers going back and forth on trade issues, the House will vote on revised language for trade agreements with Vietnam and extending preferences with other countries. The House is expected to pass the legislation; however, the Senate is still debating.

Today Congress will take up an economic package that extends some popular tax provisionsm, including an extension of the secondary tariff on ethanol through Jan. 1, 2009; a provision allowing for 50-percent accelerated depreciation in the year a new cellulosic biomass ethanol facility is put into service; an extension of a reduced excise tax rate on methanol or ethanol fuel derived from coal; and a provision that would open the OCS for 8.3 million acres of domestic natural gas and oil production. Corn growers believe this legislation will aid in providing more domestic natural gas.

Earlier this week NCGA sent a letter to members of Congress urging passage of the measure.

NCGA members have also met with a number of Congressional offices talking about the importance of natural gas development for producers. "This legislation is critical for agriculture," said NCGA President Ken McCauley. "We are urging Congress to pass this bill. It is important for long-term sustainability for the U.S. energy markets and increased domestic production."

With current appropriations legislation set to expire this weekend, both the House and Senate are expected to approve continuing resolution designed to maintain funding for government operations until Feb. 15, 2007. At that time the 110th Congress will have to approve permanent funding. The new Congressional session begins Jan. 4, 2007.