June 27, 2000

June 27, 2000

Many of the pundits have been saying that this would be a "do nothing Congress". That political gridlock would close the door on any meaningful legislation. So far that has not been the case at all. Let" just take inventory ofwhere we are with a list of bills that might have been little more than a dream a few months ago. For years the Congress went through the annual charade of voting normal trade relations for China.

The energy expanded every year was enormous. This year we passed permanent normal trade for China through the House, and the Senate is prepared to follow suit. .. and the President will sign it. China will now be welcomed into the W orId Trade Organization and that market will be opened wide for our food products.

We have new legislation enacted and signed by the President to reform Federal Crop Insurance. I personally have some reservations about it but nevertheless, it is done. 72 billion dollars has been approved for emergency farm assistance.

The House of Representatives by a wide margin approved the elimination ofthe death tax. The Senate Democrats standing in opposition were shocked. Chances are good it will pass the Senate. Holding his finger in the dike is the President promising a veto. We'll see. No one ever expected we would be this close to victory.

And, finally, did you ever expect the Congress to vote to lift sanctions in the sale of food and medicine to Cuba this year? Prospects of that look good now. Each major piece of legislation I have talked about except for the emergency farm assistance has broad implications beyond agriculture. Yet the Ag lobby has been decisive in winning the vote. Congratulations!