Rep. Austin Scott, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture, held a public hearing to review the impact of enforcement activities by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on specialty crop growers. Specifically, Subcommittee Members addressed growing concerns that DOL is using the "Hot Goods" provision under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) in an arbitrary manner against producers of perishable agricultural commodities without regard for the inevitable destruction of the product and significant economic hardship inflicted on farmers and their employees.
Chairman Smith Statement on Clinton's Line-Item Veto of Cooperative Tax provision for Farmers
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Oregon Congressman Bob Smith, Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, today issued the following statement of President Bill Clinton's decision to exercise his line-item veto over a provision of the balanced budget agreement that would benefit farmers:
"I am a strong supporter of the line-item veto and have been for many years. I respect and defend the President's use of the line-item veto, but I disagree with his judgment in doing so with regard to one provision - that provision which makes the owner of an agricultural refining or processing facility eligible for a deferral on capital gains taxes if they sold their facility to a qualified farm cooperative.
Simply put, this provision, which enjoys strong bi-partisan support in both the House and Senate, would make farmers and their cooperatives more likely to take advantage of value-added production, maintaining and strengthening farm income, protecting jobs and economic activity in rural America, and enhancing U.S. agriculture's ability to compete most effectively in a global marketplace still characterized by subsidized foreign competition.
Contrary to the misinformation being disseminated to support this veto, the real beneficiaries of the farm cooperative provision are the nation's millions of farmers and their approximately 4,000 regional and local cooperatives. The President's action hurts farmers, and no amount of scapegoating will change that fact," Smith said.
Smith, a cosponsor of the provision (H.R. 1752) in the U.S. House of Representatives, represents Oregon's Second Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.