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May 30, 2014

Debra Davis

U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt is chairman of the Subcommittee on Agriculture Appropriations.

The House Appropriations Committee passed its fiscal year 2015 agriculture appropriations bill Thursday in a 31-18 vote. The bill contains $20.9 billion in discretionary spending, which is the same level enacted in fiscal year 2014. 

Two amendments that passed the committee were U.S. Rep. Jim Moran’s, D-Va., horse slaughter amendment and U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro’s, D-Conn., “Chinese chicken” amendment.

Moran’s amendment prevented funding the inspection of horse slaughter plants. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed a similar amendment last week.

U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., chairman of the Subcommittee on Agriculture Appropriations, spoke against Moran’s amendment. The U.S. exports approximately 138,000 horses for slaughter each year because of the demand for horsemeat around the world, he said.

“Once horses leave this country, we cannot control how they’re treated in transport or in their slaughter,” Aderholt said, adding that the amendment “is an endorsement of outsourcing of U.S. jobs.”

DeLauro’s amendment would prevent poultry processed in China from being used in the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program and Summer Food Service Program.

Aderholt spoke in favor of DeLauro’s amendment, and the bill found no objection in a voice vote. 

The House and Senate moved the respective agriculture appropriation bills through full committees, and the bills now move to the full floor. Neither chamber has set a date to bring the bills to the floor.

The House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday reported three bills supported by American Farm Bureau Federation that make permanent tax provisions that expired at the end of last year.

They are HR 4718, introduced by Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, to make 50 percent bonus depreciation permanent; HR 2807, “Conservation Easement Incentive Act of 2013,” introduced by Reps. Jim Gerlach, R-Pa., and Mike Thompson, D-Calif., which makes permanent the expanded deduction for donated conservation easements; and HR 4719, introduced by Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., to permanently extend and expand the charitable deduction for contributions of food.

The House Ways and Means Committee earlier passed HR 4457, which significantly affects many farmers, said Alabama Farmers Federation National Legislative Programs Director Mitt Walker. The resolution would permanently extend the increased Section 179 small business expensing limitations that expired at the end of last year.

Last year, the maximum Section 179 deduction was set at $500,000 of purchased property, reduced dollar for dollar when investments exceeded $2 million. The maximum deduction shrank to $25,000 for 2014.

The partisan vote was 21-14. Democrats objected to making the expanded Section 179 deduction permanent.

The bills still must go to the full House for a vote. While the House bills would make the tax exemptions permanent, the Senate remains bogged down in passing a two-year extension of tax provisions that expired last year.

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