WASHINGTON (B)--Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar unveiled July 19 a bill with diverse farm relief measures, including everything from tax relief to fast track trade authority, and his colleague, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-KS, stressed that together they will get those provisions passed this year by any possible means.
Lugar, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee and primary sponsor of the bill, told reporters at a Capitol Hill conference that he is not likely to attempt to offer the legislation as an amendment to the 2001 farm budget bill. However, he and Roberts said that some or all of the bill's provisions are likely to find there way into a later conference committee on the farm-spending bill.
The bill, sponsored on the House side by Rep. John Boehner, R-OH, includes provisions to allow farmers to exclude $500,000 of a farm sale from capital gains taxes and loosen restrictions on tax deductions that farmers can claim, such as the cost of health care insurance. It also includes a measure that would require the General Accounting Office to assess the expenses farmers pay to comply with a host of federal regulations and then recommend "less costly alternatives."
Also included in the legislative package are several bills that are either already approved or currently winding their way through Congress, including a repeal of the estate tax, the abolition of unilateral food and medicine sanctions and fast track trade authority for the president.
Roberts said he and other lawmakers will try to get the bill, or parts of it, approved on any legislative vehicles available for the remainder of the year.