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2015 Policy Focus Areas For Obama, Congress

22:10PM Jan 21, 2015

Trade, taxes and the Keystone XL pipeline are among policy issues that could affect U.S. agricultural producers in 2015, says Roger Bernard, policy analyst, Informa Economics.

Based on President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address delivered this week, Bernard notes, White House priorities include a focus on middle-class economics. Other points:

  • Spending: $235 billion in new spending proposed
  • Taxes: Hike cap gains rate, new inheritance taxes
  • Keystone: Willing to give some if policy has a broader focus than this single pipeline
  • Trade policy: Push for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
  • Veto pen: Ready for use

Meanwhile, activity in the Republican-controlled House and Senate will include:

  • Budget: resolution and reconciliation will be vehicle. Obama will present FY2015 budget proposals Feb. 2 – look for crop insurance changes, including to premium subsidies. Timely arrival of budget will allow Congress to do its work.
  • Health care reform: Moves to repeal will fail; changes possible around the edges
  • Energy: Keystone XL pipeline
  • Trade policy issues: TPA, TPP, Country Of Origin Labeling (COOL)
  • Tax policy and reform: GOP largely rejects admin. Plans
  • Infrastructure: Transportation spending
  • Approach to decision-making: Return to “regular order” in Senate

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