On Wednesday afternoon the U.S. Senate passed the tax bill that would extend current tax cuts for two years, set estate tax levels and extend and resume cuts for ethanol and biodiesel. The bill, which also extends unemployment benefits, passed on an 81-19 vote.
The vote drew positive reaction from many groups. Manning Feraci, NBB vice president of federal affairs says this bill will help ensure that the nation reaps the job creation, energy security, and environmental benefits associated with the expanded domestic production and use of biodiesel in the coming year.
The estate tax was addressed by the bill as well, setting the exemption at $5 million dollars and the tax at 35%. Steve Fogelsong, president of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association expressed his appreciation for the Senate acting to keep levels from reverting back to 2001 levels.
"The estate tax is a government approved, signed, sealed and delivered ticking time bomb for U.S. farmers, ranchers and small business owners," said Foglesong. "This is an outdated tax that is inaccurately framed as a tax on the rich. The USDA even names the death tax as one of the top contributors to the breakup of multigenerational farming and ranching operations. The Senate's vote to extend the current tax rates and bring the estate tax down to more reasonable levels offers a great deal of relief to U.S. cattlemen and women right before the New Year."
Now the bill is headed to the House of Representatives where there is much more dissention concerning the bill. Many Democrats are unhappy with provisions of the bill which came from a compromise brokered between the White House and Congressional Republicans. However Democratic leaders in the House say they expect the bill to pass. Action could happen as early as this evening.
"We urge the House to now move the legislation forward to President Obama’s desk," said Brian Jennings, Executive Vice President of the American Coalition for Ethanol. "Members of Congress supporting this legislation are helping to prevent Americans from paying higher prices at the pump, saving existing jobs and creating new jobs, and reducing our nation’s dangerous dependence on foreign oil."