As House Ag marks up, Scott opposes ‘stepped-up basis’

The House Agriculture Committee has begun consideration of programs under its jurisdiction in the expected reconciliation bill.

As several Republicans said they are worried that the reconciliation bill will include a change in the stepped-up basis provisions in estate tax law that would raise costs for farmers, House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott, D-Ga., said he opposes the stepped up basis provision.

Scott noted that the stepped-up basis tax provision does not come under the jurisdiction of the agriculture committees.

“It is not in this bill and I hope it will not be in the final one as well,” Scott said.

Under current law, farm land and other assets are revalued at the time of death and if heirs sell the asset they pay capital gains taxes on the difference between that “stepped-up” valuation rather than on the original cost of the asset and the sale price.

The markup process may be lengthy. A committee source said that there may be 35 amendments offered. Scott said that votes on amendments will be postponed, and it was unclear whether those votes will take place today.

In an opening statement, Scott called the bill “monumental” and said it would include “critical investments” in agricultural research, rural development, energy and the national forest system.

But Scott also noted that the bill today does not include conservation provisions that are expected to cost $28 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Scott said the conservation provisions will be included in the bill that comes to the House floor but acknowledged that the committee will not have an opportunity to consider them.

Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., the chair of the subcommittee in charge of conservation, said she wished the bill included the conservation provisions.

Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., noted that the provisions under jurisdiction of the Ag committee are expected to cost $94 billion and of that, $89.1 billion is expected to be deficit spending.

House Agriculture Committee ranking member Glen “GT” Thompson, R-Pa., said that “with solemn regret” he found himself in front of a partisan, secretive process. Thompson complained that the Republicans got the bill less than 24 hours ago and only “seconds” before it was released to the general public.

Thompson noted that neither rural broadband or Whip Plus proposals are included in the bill.

Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif., said he wished the Republicans were participating in the process, but they had “made their decision,” as they did on the Affordable Care Act.

–The Hagstrom Report

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