Welcome back. It’s been a busy couple of weeks since the last update!
Of course, the biggest news item of the day is the U.S. House vote on the Build Back Better Plan and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. (By the time you read this, the vote will have probably already happened, but as I write early this morning, it’s still in the future.) The bipartisan infrastructure bill already passed the Senate, so it will go to the White House for signature upon House passage. The Build Back Better (BBB) Act must still go through the Senate, where it will likely face some continued obstacles from moderate Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
TSCRA and many others have worked for months to eliminate some of the most harmful provisions from the BBB Act. As a result, we’ve prevented some things that would be catastrophic for cattle producers, like a methane tax, capital gains taxes on death, elimination of the stepped-up basis and 1031 like-kind exchanges, and more. It was also largely because of pushback from ag and business groups like TSCRA that moderate Democrats forced spending provisions in the bill to be cut by almost half.
We’re continuing to fight the bill and the remaining provisions like higher taxes for top earners, a higher corporate tax rate, a lower exemption threshold for the death tax, and tightened trust requirements that will hurt some cattle producers.
We will continue to fight for you as the bill moves to the Senate!
Elsewhere in Washington, you may have heard about the Cattle Contract Library Act, which was introduced and passed by the House Ag Committee a couple of weeks ago. The bill will mandate the creation of a cattle contract library within USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service.
In a letter to the Texas Congressional Delegation, TSCRA’s officers said, “TSCRA supports H.R. 5609 and the additional transparency it incorporates into Livestock Mandatory Reporting (LMR). Though we support the passage of this bill, we do not expect this legislation to have a significant impact on our market or resolve the current market issues facing cattle producers. As such, TSCRA does not want this Act to usurp the more critical issue of increasing negotiated trade to minimum levels regionally necessary to achieve robust price discovery.” You can check out the full letter here.
Last week TSCRA director Kelley Sullivan Georgiades hit back against a Houston Chronicle editorial that said we should all go vegetarian to stop climate change. Read her letter to the editor here.
Though often overshadowed by events in the mainstream news — like fake meat or tax hikes — TSCRA’s government relations staff frequently work behind the scenes on other important initiatives. For example, just yesterday, we threw our support behind a research project on virtual fencing by Texas Tech University and the Texas Grazing Lands Coalition. Our letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should help the project receive federal grant dollars to conduct research that will benefit your operations down the road.
Our involvement in curtailing Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) also continued recently. TSCRA submitted comments on proposed CWD rules at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department last week. Thank you to everyone who joined us in submitting comments.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission met yesterday and approved the new rules! It’s been a long road, but thankfully our native deer will be better protected from this horrific disease moving forward. It will undoubtedly take continued vigilance, though, so expect TSCRA to maintain our engagement with our agency partners on the issue.
Speaking of deer… Texas’ general White-tail season opens tomorrow, so until next time, happy hunting!
Jeremy Fuchs is the director of policy communications and government relations for Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.