Where We Stand Today

June 5, 2001

June 5, 2001

180 days can make a big difference!! A lot has happened injust a few months. It was a marathon but George W. Bush was sworn in as President ofthe United States. Republicans by the slimmest of margins led the House and Senate only to see the Senate majority flip back to the Democrats. In the meantime, the biggest tax cut in 20 years passed the Congress and was signed by the President.

What does all of this mean to us?

  1. The tax cut package with rate cuts and an end to the death tax, we have something we can applaud. My caution is that over the years as it is phased in, liberal big spenders will never give up their effort to change it, to deny the taxpayer that money.
  2. Now President Bush's energy program will be front and center. We can't lose on this one. Any actions that result in more energy will help keep our costs in producing and delivering food under control.
  3. The drive for more energy will help us in another way. Some of the needed energy can be renewable. Make it from crops. That is part of President Bush's plan. The shift of control in the Senate will not hurt our chances either. Senator Harking has taken over as Chair of the Senate Ag Committee and he is an enthusiastic supporter of ethanol. As I speak, seven new ethanol plants are under construction and more are on the way. Bio-diesel, forever a stepchild, just may be positioned to make a move. We have Speaker Denny Hastert as a powerful ally.

Finally, the farm bill. This year we will hear a lot of talk, but little action. Chairman Harkin is in no bigger hurry to act this year than former Chairman Lugar. And the crystal ball for next year when the bill will be written is just too murky.

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington.