At the 2024 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show (CattleCon) held in Orlando, Florida, Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster had the chance to catch up with the Vice President of Governmental Affairs at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Ethan Lane, about NCBA’s latest policy work and more.
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Currently, Lane said one of the biggest issues in Washington, D.C., is the push and pull of an administration that is running an “end game” of four years in office leading up to the next presidential election.
“They do that through putting out regulations that we may or may not like; they do that through new policy proposals and showing aspirations for a second term, and then you have a congress on the other side who is severely limited in their capacity to do much, and you have very tight majorities down to one or two votes for House Republicans and about the same in the Senate,” Lane said. “That spells not a whole lot of real movement or action on a range of topics.”
The appropriations process also continues, Lane said, as there have been a few extensions since September.
“There is talk that we are starting to see some progress, but they set some top-line spending numbers for those individual spending bills this week, and that gives them some operating room, and now they know what they are working with,” Lane said.
Some of those “big ticket items” Lane said NCBA is focusing on in the appropriations process include maintaining the delay on electronic logging devices for cattle producers, endangered species issues, the Packers and Stockyards Act, and more.
“We are working for money to pay for electronic tags,” Lane said. “USDA is working on a traceability rule right now. Our policy is that we prefer a voluntary solution to that issue, but we want to make sure if the government puts a mandate for it, we want to make sure there is money to pay for tags, so producers aren’t bearing that cost.”
Looking into next year, Lane said there is a discussion regarding making changes to the estate tax, as the dramatic increase in the limit for the death tax will expire at the end of next year.
“Although this Congress will probably not deal with that in substance, the conversation starts now,” Lane said. “There is a tax package that is kind of working its way through the Hill that is bipartisan. We don’t really know whether that is more of a marker or if that really has some legs. They are debating whether to run that on the hill here in the next week or so.”
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