Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton DTN Ag Policy Editor

Tuesday 10/30/12

Senator Disagrees on Sandy's Budget Impact

Sen. Charles Grassley disagrees with my theory that Hurricane Sandy adds complications to the lame-duck session.

Speaking on a Tuesday morning conference call, the Iowa Republican said it won't be a controversial item to deal with the floods and storms because lawmakers are used to dealing with such disasters and the money would be "off budget." There could be demands from offsets from places such as the farm bill, but that doesn't have to be the case.

"The money will be considered emergency money. It wouldn't be subject to a budget point of order and stuff like that. And we'll fulfill our responsibility as an insurer of last resort."

Yet, last year after a spate of disasters, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said there should be budget offsets to pay for costly disasters. He eventually backed off that argument, especially after reporters and others noted Cantor had actually voted against such offset requirements in 2004.

Back to Grassley, he said the outlook for a five-year farm bill doesn't look good.

"I would say it's more likely for an extension."

That would change if Republican nominee Mitt Romney were elected, Grassley said. Because then the tax and fiscal-cliff issues would be delayed to give time for a new president to put together his own economic and tax program. That would then free up more time in the lame-duck to take a longer look at a five-year farm bill.

If President Barack Obama is reelected then there will be more focus in the lame-duck session on the fiscal cliff and taxes. House and Senate leaders would be more tied up with those issues.

"Will there be a willingness to work on a farm bill? I don't know because right now it's pretty much the people who run the House who are going to make that determination."

A Romney win would translate into a greater opportunity for more overall tax reform, Grassley added. Yet, the delay while Romney is organizing his cabinet and policies would create more uncertainty in the short-term. "I think the markets would reflect that a new president has a mandate to have his program considered by Congress, and considered by the new Congress instead of being considered in November and December when we have a lame-duck president," he said.

If Obama is reelected, Grassley said the president would consider that a mandate to raise taxes and then there would be a connection between raising taxes and cutting defense less under the sequestration.

Grassley began his conference call encouraging everyone to get out and vote. While at the same time, Grassley acknowledged people are fed up with the campaigns.

"I hear this out on the campaign trail every day. Nov. 6 can't come quick enough because they are sick and tired of the political ads."

I can be found on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN

Posted at 2:57PM CDT 10/30/12 by Chris Clayton
Comments (1)
No matter who wins the Bush tax cuts expire so for at least a year there will be an increase in revenue and lower the deficit some.
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 7:24PM CDT 10/31/12
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