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Grassley on election and ag
Senator Chuck Grassley, one of few members of Congress to actively farm, sized up the election results for agriculture Tuesday, saying the voters' choice of president had little effect on the farm bill debate, but it will affect estate taxes, the regulatory environment, and energy policy.
Neither President Barack Obama nor Governor Mitt Romney talked much about the farm bill during the campaign, Grassley told reporters Tuesday. He expects Congress to either pass a five-year farm bill before the end of the year or it will pass a one-year extension of the current law. Grassley favors finishing the farm bill this year, but he said he's not betting on it.
During his campaign, Romney pledged to end the estate tax. At the end of this year it would revert to $1 million, the level before the Bush tax cuts were enacted.
"I believe it will not go back to $1 million," Grassley said. Those who favor keeping the current level of $5 million will have to fight for it, he said. Grassley said it could go back to $3.5 million (the level of 2009), with the rate rising from 35% to 45%.
On energy policy, Grassley said, "generally I think we're back to the Obama policy, which is encouraging green energy." Grassley said he expects little effort from the administration to boost domestic fossil fuel production.
He expects no relief for businesses from regulatory burdens.
"It's going to be very harmful to the economy and cut down on job growth," he said.