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November 2012 Archive for PFA Pioneer Blog

RSS By: Chip Flory, Pro Farmer

This is a private blog for Pioneer.

Wiesemeyer's Take on Fiscal Cliff and Farm Bill

Nov 30, 2012

Pro Farmer Extra

- From the Editors of Pro Farmer newsletter

Nov. 30, 2012

Wiesemeyer's Take on Fiscal Cliff and Farm Bill

We don't normally share from "Members-only" content, but Pro Farmer Washington consultant Jim Wiesemeyer's latest take on the fiscal cliff situation and how it might impact the farm bill is a must-read for everybody.

The up to $35 billion in new farm bill savings was included as budget offsets in a fiscal cliff package proposal offered to Republicans by President Barack Obama, but GOP leaders quickly nixed the proposal, labeling it as “unbalanced and unreasonable."

The White House proposal, revealed to GOP leaders by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in meetings held Thursday, includes the nearly $1.6 trillion in additional tax revenue over 10 years that the White House earlier endorsed largely via allowing an increase in upper-bracket income tax rates.

The White House plan would also postpone for a year the automatic cuts in discretionary spending scheduled to begin next year, use the farm bill savings as a partial budget offset, trim $400 billion from federal health care programs, renew extended unemployment compensation and extend a “patch” for the alternative minimum tax as well as tax incentives for businesses.

Importantly, GOP leaders were critical of a White House proposal to put in place a new mechanism that would increase the government’s borrowing limit without congressional approval.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), ranking member on the Budget Committee, dismissed the proposal as “a distraction that allows the White House to continue to run out the clock so it can have maximal leverage to force through a bad deal in the last minutes before midnight.”

Obama today will be in suburban Philadelphia for a campaign-style rally to sell his plan for extending tax cuts for middle-class Americans.

Democrats continue to push for raising taxes next year on capital gains and dividends, the investment income that forms an important share of the earnings for the wealthiest taxpayers. Increasing the top tax rate on long-term capital gains and dividends from 15 percent to 20 percent would raise $100 billion to $120 billion over 10 years, according to White House estimates.

Meanwhile, some Republicans are reportedly requiring relief spending for Hurricane Sandy be matched by cuts elsewhere in the federal budget. Lawmakers are waiting on a supplemental proposal for the storm damage from the White House that state and local officials say could be about $80 billion.

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he does not expect to have a confrontation with GOP members over aid. “I’ve been told that the Republicans in the House agree that this is something that need not be paid for, and I hope that, in fact, is the case because if there were ever an act of God, an emergency, this is it.”


Comments: Agriculture committee leaders in the House and Senate met Thursday with USDA Sec Tom Vilsack at USDA to discuss various new farm bill issues.

"We're going to do everything we can to work together to get a farm bill done," said Senate Ag Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) after the 40-minute meeting. Stabenow said she was open to attaching a new farm bill to any legislation passed to avert fiscal cliff impacts, but to do that the Senate and House would have to come to agreement on thorny issues such as food stamps and farm subsidy levels.

Vilsack said his goal for the meeting was to "get all four folks who are critical to this process in a room at the same time to talk to each other and we accomplished that."

While the participants did not detail what was discussed at the USDA-held meeting, a likely discussion topic was any need to extend some 2008 Farm Bill provisions and if so, which ones and for how long.

Meanwhile, whenever the final verdict on the new farm bill comes, sources say it will come down to three possibilities:
(1) 5-year farm bill as part of a big fiscal cliff package;
(2) 1-year modified extension with no cuts and reconciliation-style process in 2013 to get cuts;
(3) 1-year modified extension with cuts and part of larger deal in 2013.


 

Follow Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory on Twitter: @ChipFlory


To see more of what Pro Farmer has to offer, be sure to visit www.profarmer.com.

November issue of Crop Tour newsletter

Nov 19, 2012

Pro Farmer Extra

- From the Editors of Pro Farmer newsletter

Nov. 16, 2012

 

The November issue of Pro Farmer's Crop Tour newsletter is now available at www.profarmer.com. You can access this newsletter -- sponsored by DuPont Pioneer -- by going to the Pro Farmer website... no Membership is required to see this special crop update.

 

In the November issue, we wrap up the 2012 U.S. crop estimates, take a close look at current weather trends and detail progress made by Brazilian and Argentine corn and soybean growers to get the 2012-13 corn and bean crops planted.

 

Or, you can simply click here to access the November issue of the Crop Tour newsletter.


 

Follow Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory on Twitter: @ChipFlory


To see more of what Pro Farmer has to offer, be sure to visit www.profarmer.com.

November Crop Tour Newsletter

Nov 16, 2012

Pro Farmer Extra

- From the Editors of Pro Farmer newsletter

Nov. 16, 2012

 

The November issue of Pro Farmer's Crop Tour newsletter is now available at www.profarmer.com. You can access this newsletter -- sponsored by DuPont Pioneer -- by going to the Pro Farmer website... no Membership is required to see this special crop update.

 

In the November issue, we wrap up the 2012 U.S. crop estimates, take a close look at current weather trends and detail progress made by Brazilian and Argentine corn and soybean growers to get the 2012-13 corn and bean crops planted.

 

Or, you can simply click here to access the November issue of the Crop Tour newsletter.


 

Follow Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory on Twitter: @ChipFlory


To see more of what Pro Farmer has to offer, be sure to visit www.profarmer.com.

Obama Re-elected. Now What?

Nov 15, 2012

Pro Farmer Extra

- From the Editors of Pro Farmer newsletter

Nov. 15, 2012

 

The election is done! Pro Farmer Washington consultant Jim Wiesemeyer and Associate Editor Meghan Pedersen this week wrapped up the election and took the first look at what's coming up in the final weeks of the year. This report was the feature page in this week's Pro Farmer's newsletter, but it's value is timely and you need to see it now.
 

 

By Jim Wiesemeyer and Meghan Pedersen


After months of campaigning with billions of dollars spent, Americans elected the status quo: Republicans kept their majority (although reduced) in the House, Democrats slightly increased their majority in the Senate and incumbent Obama defeated GOP challenger Mitt Romney in the race for the White House.

How Obama won...
 

Democrats turned out a heavily Democratic electorate. Obama won huge majorities with Latino, African- American and women voters. He lost among white males by a wide margin, as expected.

These demographics helped him take most swing states. In the key state of Ohio, Obama performed better than usual among white males without a college education, signaling the president’s decision to bail out the U.S. auto industry gave him a boost.

Obama won by 24 points among voters aged 18 to 29 who make up 19% of the electorate. Superstorm Sandy and praise by New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie likely also gave Obama a bipartisan boost.

The past two election results signal the public is shifting toward fewer married, more secular and more ethnically diverse voters.

With this in mind, many say the past two presidential election results show the Republican party must change if it hopes to win national and state-wide elections ahead. As one GOP analyst pointed out, Obama is the “first president in history to be reelected with 43 months of unemployment over 8%.”

Implications of an Obama second term
 

Shortly after his reelection, Obama said he plans to sit down with Romney in the weeks ahead to talk about how the two can work together. We are hopeful this is a sign Obama will be more willing to develop bipartisan solutions during his second term.

This will be very necessary as Congress and the administration shift their focus to addressing the U.S. fiscal cliff mess and reforming entitlements (particularly Medicare), the tax code and immigration.

The election results mean health care and Dodd-Frank financial reforms will continue. (Romney had pledged to repeal “Obamacare” and significantly alter Dodd-Frank.)

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, climate change and how Obama confronts the topic will likely be a sensitive issue. There is also concern as to whether Obama will push through or implement Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations he had backed off on ahead of the election. A quick dispute would surface with GOP House members if the administration returns to its previous aggressive regulatory approach.

Regarding foreign policy, Iran’s nuclear program remains a key challenge. Some also wonder if Obama will be more accommodative to Russia and Iran.

Key nominations likely ahead for president
 

During his second term, Obama will likely nominate between one and three U.S. Supreme Court justices. This could set the Court’s “tone” for a long time. Obama will likely also be tasked with recommending a replacement for Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke when his term expires in January 2014; he has privately signaled he doesn’t want another term as chair.

Change of attitude needed for an unchanged Congress

The elections brought very little change to the balance of power in Congress. The GOP maintained its majority in the House and lost two seats in the Senate, where Democrats now have a 55-45 seat majority.

Already, concerns exist that lawmakers will again refuse to cross political aisles to accomplish things —namely addressing the fiscal cliff. Thus Americans are hopeful House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) comments after the election that the GOP may be willing to compromise to reach a major deficit agreement, possibly one similar to the agreement he and Obama nearly struck last year to reduce the deficit by up to $4 trillion over 10 years, prove to be more than just words.

Boehner called for a “down payment” on deficit reduction during the lame-duck session and said the GOP would accept “new revenue,” but not higher tax rates, in a broader agreement next year that would include a comprehensive overhaul of the tax system and address growth in entitlements.

He dismissed the possibility of a grand bargain on the deficit before year-end, which was a break from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) assertion hours earlier that he didn’t want to “kick the can” into 2013.
In prepared remarks, Boehner called for Obama to lead and told the president “we want you to succeed.” Boehner also urged lawmakers to “challenge ourselves to find the common ground that has eluded us.”

Farm bill could still be completed in lame-duck session
 

The lame-duck session of Congress will determine if a new farm bill comes this year or is punted until the new Congress in 2013. Reid has signaled an ambitious, six-week Senate timetable for the post-election session set to start Nov. 13.

Reid’s aim is to keep pressure on lawmakers to reach a bipartisan debt deal by Dec. 21, the expected adjournment date of this Congress. That should leave plenty of time to reach a final farm bill conclusion and at least scratch this from the “must-do” list for 2013. Some type of extension of the 2008 Farm Bill is likely, regardless of the new farm bill timeline.


 

Follow Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory on Twitter: @ChipFlory


To see more of what Pro Farmer has to offer, be sure to visit www.profarmer.com.

The Status Quo in Washington

Nov 09, 2012

Pro Farmer Extra

- From the Editors of Pro Farmer newsletter

Nov. 9, 2012

 

The election is done! Pro Farmer Washington consultant Jim Wiesemeyer and Associate Editor Meghan Pedersen this week wrapped up the election and took the first look at what's coming up in the final weeks of the year. This report was the feature page in this week's Pro Farmer's newsletter, but it's value is timely and you need to see it now.
 

 

By Jim Wiesemeyer and Meghan Pedersen


After months of campaigning with billions of dollars spent, Americans elected the status quo: Republicans kept their majority (although reduced) in the House, Democrats slightly increased their majority in the Senate and incumbent Obama defeated GOP challenger Mitt Romney in the race for the White House.

How Obama won...
 

Democrats turned out a heavily Democratic electorate. Obama won huge majorities with Latino, African- American and women voters. He lost among white males by a wide margin, as expected.

These demographics helped him take most swing states. In the key state of Ohio, Obama performed better than usual among white males without a college education, signaling the president’s decision to bail out the U.S. auto industry gave him a boost.

Obama won by 24 points among voters aged 18 to 29 who make up 19% of the electorate. Superstorm Sandy and praise by New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie likely also gave Obama a bipartisan boost.

The past two election results signal the public is shifting toward fewer married, more secular and more ethnically diverse voters.

With this in mind, many say the past two presidential election results show the Republican party must change if it hopes to win national and state-wide elections ahead. As one GOP analyst pointed out, Obama is the “first president in history to be reelected with 43 months of unemployment over 8%.”

Implications of an Obama second term
 

Shortly after his reelection, Obama said he plans to sit down with Romney in the weeks ahead to talk about how the two can work together. We are hopeful this is a sign Obama will be more willing to develop bipartisan solutions during his second term.

This will be very necessary as Congress and the administration shift their focus to addressing the U.S. fiscal cliff mess and reforming entitlements (particularly Medicare), the tax code and immigration.

The election results mean health care and Dodd-Frank financial reforms will continue. (Romney had pledged to repeal “Obamacare” and significantly alter Dodd-Frank.)

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, climate change and how Obama confronts the topic will likely be a sensitive issue. There is also concern as to whether Obama will push through or implement Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations he had backed off on ahead of the election. A quick dispute would surface with GOP House members if the administration returns to its previous aggressive regulatory approach.

Regarding foreign policy, Iran’s nuclear program remains a key challenge. Some also wonder if Obama will be more accommodative to Russia and Iran.

Key nominations likely ahead for president
 

During his second term, Obama will likely nominate between one and three U.S. Supreme Court justices. This could set the Court’s “tone” for a long time. Obama will likely also be tasked with recommending a replacement for Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke when his term expires in January 2014; he has privately signaled he doesn’t want another term as chair.

Change of attitude needed for an unchanged Congress

The elections brought very little change to the balance of power in Congress. The GOP maintained its majority in the House and lost two seats in the Senate, where Democrats now have a 55-45 seat majority.

Already, concerns exist that lawmakers will again refuse to cross political aisles to accomplish things —namely addressing the fiscal cliff. Thus Americans are hopeful House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) comments after the election that the GOP may be willing to compromise to reach a major deficit agreement, possibly one similar to the agreement he and Obama nearly struck last year to reduce the deficit by up to $4 trillion over 10 years, prove to be more than just words.

Boehner called for a “down payment” on deficit reduction during the lame-duck session and said the GOP would accept “new revenue,” but not higher tax rates, in a broader agreement next year that would include a comprehensive overhaul of the tax system and address growth in entitlements.

He dismissed the possibility of a grand bargain on the deficit before year-end, which was a break from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) assertion hours earlier that he didn’t want to “kick the can” into 2013.
In prepared remarks, Boehner called for Obama to lead and told the president “we want you to succeed.” Boehner also urged lawmakers to “challenge ourselves to find the common ground that has eluded us.”

Farm bill could still be completed in lame-duck session
 

The lame-duck session of Congress will determine if a new farm bill comes this year or is punted until the new Congress in 2013. Reid has signaled an ambitious, six-week Senate timetable for the post-election session set to start Nov. 13.

Reid’s aim is to keep pressure on lawmakers to reach a bipartisan debt deal by Dec. 21, the expected adjournment date of this Congress. That should leave plenty of time to reach a final farm bill conclusion and at least scratch this from the “must-do” list for 2013. Some type of extension of the 2008 Farm Bill is likely, regardless of the new farm bill timeline.


 

Follow Pro Farmer Editor Chip Flory on Twitter: @ChipFlory


To see more of what Pro Farmer has to offer, be sure to visit www.profarmer.com.

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