While this week’s elections brought big changes to Congress, there may be few immediate changes that have a drastic impact on Iowa’s farmers. American Farm Bureau’s Washington director Dick Newpher says there likely won’t be any sweeping legislation come out of the Senate Ag Committee under the new Republican leadership versus the Democrats, when Iowa Senator Tom Harkin was chairman.The Farm Bill, one of the most major pieces of legislation that can come out of the Senate Ag Committee, is already over and has become law, Newpher says he doesn’t expect dramatic differences between how the panel operated under Senator Harkin or the expected new chairman, Senator Thad Cochran, a Republican from Mississippi. He says with either party marginally in control, there’s not a lot of difference in the ag legislation that passes.Newpher reminds that it takes 60 votes to pass anything controversial in the Senate. He suspects the change in Senate leadership may lead to tax changes in the next session — perhaps on estate taxes. Newpher says the G-O-P may move to eliminate estate taxes completely instead of just for one year, 2010, as current legislation stipulates.
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