NMPF's Jim Mulhern: Congress Might Actually Agree On Budget, Tax Reform

December 3, 2015 07:21 AM
NMPF's Jim Mulhern: Congress Might Actually Agree On Budget, Tax Reform

With Congressman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) now speaker of the House of Representatives, it’s very possible Congress will be pass a new budget next week without the drama of a government shut.

Congress must pass a new budget by next Friday, Dec. 11, and there a good chance it will get that done, says Jim Mulhern, National Milk Producers Federation president and CEO. Mulhern spoke at the Minnesota Milk Producers Association Dairy Conference Expo here in St. Cloud, Minn. this week.

“There has been gridlock in Congress for the last three to four year, because there was an inability to meet in the middle,” he says. With Ryan as new speaker, some of that animus has dissipated, at least short term.

Mulhern is also hopeful that a school nutrition bill will also pass that will address flavored milk in schools. He’s optimistic more flavored milks could be allowed, though he says more work needs to be done to make it happen.

“Tax reform is up in the air,” he says. But he says it’s ”somewhat likely” a two-year extension of the Section 179 tax credit and inclusion of 50% bonus depreciation will happen.

Passage of national Genetically Modified Organism food labeling is on the bubble. H.R. 1599 would beoffers a Federal preemption of state laws that require mandatory labeling on GMO foods. H.R. 1599 would make such labeling voluntary. “We have to prevent a state-by-state patchwork of GMO labeling,” he says. “But I don’t know if we’ll get that done this session.”

Immigration reform is dead on arrival this session of Congress. “I don’t see it happening with this Congress,” he says. “There has been no movement on immigration reform, and actually things have gone the other way.”

The 2016 presidential campaign will determine what pathway immigration reform takes after elections next November.   


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