May 2, 2012
House GOP freshmen pressure Boehner to call vote on ‘death tax’ repeal
The House Republican freshman class has ratcheted up pressure on Speaker John Boehner to bring full repeal of the federal estate tax — popularly derided as the “death tax” — to a vote on the House floor.
Congressional Republicans, GOP freshman class president Rep. Austin Scott wrote in a public letter to the speaker, “are eager to present a clear cut choice to voters: Support the Republican plan to bury the death tax or support Democrats’ plan to hike the death tax to a crushing 45 percent rate, or higher.”
Strongly supported by FLA, the Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act of 2011 has 206 House co-sponsors, including four Democrats, ensuring its likelihood of passage in the GOP-dominated House. On the Senate side, Republican John Thune proposed a version of the same legislation in March of this year. That bill currently has 36 cosponsors.
While national polling shows Republicans are fighting an uphill public-opinion battle against President Barack Obama’s proposed “Buffett Rule” tax hike, state and national polling consistently shows that a majority of Americans oppose the estate tax and favor its permanent repeal.
“The American people,” Scott wrote, “favor the Republican proposal — consistently 60-70 percent of voters want the death tax buried permanently.”
FLA has been working on full repeal of the death tax since its introduction and encourages you to contact your House and Senate Representative and tell them to vote on this legislation now.
Forest Fairness Act aims to be an Equalizer
U.S. Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) have introduced legislation S. 2346 that would open new opportunities for American forestry producers by allowing their products to qualify for the U.S. Department of Agriculture BioPreferred Program.
Pryor and Blunt said the USDA BioPreferred Program was created to provide new markets for farm commodities and encourage consumers to purchase environmentally-friendly biobased products. Despite the sustainability of wood, pulp and paper products, the USDA has not designated such products as a USDA Certified Biobased Product. The Forest Products Fairness Act would allow domestic forestry products to be labeled as biobased so they could receive increased consumer attention as well as federal government procurement preference. FLA CEO Scott Jones commented that “Senator Pryor’s bill will effectively drop the arbitrary “mature market” exclusion of wood from participating in the USDA Biobased product program. This has the potential to provide greater access to markets for our products and help sustain America’s private forest landowners.”
According to Senator Pryor’s press release, this designation levels the playing field between domestically-produced wood products and imported products such as Chinese bamboo, which is already eligible for the biobased label and used as a green alternative for hardwood flooring or lumber.
“Wood is the original biobased product, made entirely from water, sunlight and air. This industry consisting of tree families, farmers, mills and manufacturers across the state - is vital to our economy,” Pryor said “I want to make sure their success continues, which means allowing these home-grown companies to expand and compete on the same level playing field as their international counterparts. Our bill is an equalizer.”