Farm Bureau opposes Build Back Better Act
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall confirmed Monday that the Republican-leaning organization will oppose the Build Back Better Act, a reconciliation bill that is supported only by Democrats in the House and Senate.
The Hagstrom Report noted in the September 24 edition that Duvall had told reporters the day before that Farm Bureau was “on track” to oppose the legislation due to concerns about taxes.
In a letter to all members of the House of Representatives, Duvall wrote, “After watching months of contentious, partisan debate surrounding the Build Back Better Act, Farm Bureau can only stand in opposition to the legislation.”
Duvall did not comment on the details of the research, rural development, conservation, school meals and other agricultural and food provisions in the bill or mention that negotiators left out proposed changes to the stepped-up basis in the evaluation of farmland in estates, which a wide range of farm groups including Farm Bureau had opposed.
“While some elements of the reconciliation package would benefit agriculture, the massive amount of spending and tax increases required to pay for the plan outweigh the gains we would see in rural America,” Duvall wrote. “Also, the manner in which they were crafted is concerning. The agriculture industry and the committees of jurisdiction have held to a long tradition of bipartisanship that we have seen erode over this past year. We hope this does not negatively impact future farm policy discussions.”
Duvall specifically criticized provisions “to raise revenue by increasing fines and penalties as much as 10 times their current amount for violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, and Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.
“The missteps of farmers and ranchers when navigating complex, oftentimes onerous regulations and laws should not serve as a funding mechanism. While Farm Bureau does not condone bad actors when it comes to appropriately managing safety, the seasonal workforce, and employee pay on the farm, fines associated with OSHA, FLSA, or MSPA violations should not be determined based on their ability to serve as a pay-for in a partisan legislative process. If enacted, these provisions could put well-meaning farmers and ranchers out of business.”
–The Hagstrom Report
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