The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation has issued a press release saying IFBF is pleased that our nation's leaders have put partisan politics aside and approved a crucial national credit rescue package. The $700 billion bailout of our nation's ailing financial industry means that the U.S. government will spend taxpayer money to buy bad mortgage-related securities and other devalued assets held by troubled financial institutions.
The package, which passed Congress on October 3 and was signed into law by President Bush, includes vital regulations and oversight designed to prevent this serious financial situation from arising again.
"We know this wasn't an easy vote and it's unfortunate that reckless decisions by just a few could bring our country to the brink of disaster. It is fortunate, however, that Congress sees the value of ensuring the financial stability of our homes, our jobs, and our children's future," says Craig Lang, president of the IFBF.
Agriculture relies on sources of credit
The agreement means the government has the authority to purchase huge amounts of devalued assets from failing financial companies. The goal is to rescue frozen credit that our nation's homebuyers, farmers and virtually all consumers rely upon in these cash-strapped economic times.
"Unfortunately, issues in the credit market made the rescue plan a necessity," says Lang. "Without this bill, farmers would have faced higher debt costs and shrinking world markets. Farmers are not alone, even high school students graduating this spring who need college loans would've lost out if this financial markets rescue plan would have failed to pass."
Bailout package includes biofuels tax incentives
Last week, as Congress worked to reach a compromise on a final economic bailout bill, several biofuels tax incentives ended up being included in the bill that was eventually signed into law. Here's how that happened.
In the U.S. House on Monday September 29, an attempt at a final bill by Democrat and Republican Leaders was defeated. On Wednesday, the Senate combined a similar bill with a pending energy tax package that Senator Grassley of Iowa and other members of the Senate Finance Committee had been working on in recent weeks, says Mindy Larsen Poldberg, government relations manager for the Iowa Corn Growers Association.
The tax package includes energy incentives that focus mostly on renewable energy sources other than ethanol; however, it does extend the Alternative Refueling Stations Credit that provides a 30% credit for alternative refueling property, such as E85 pumps, through 2010. Tax credits for ethanol blenders and small ethanol producers, as well as the ethanol import tariff, are not included in this bill as they are not currently scheduled to expire until the end of 2010.
"While ICGA did not actively lobby for an economic bailout bill, we support the inclusion of the energy tax package to the bill's final version," says Poldberg. The House of Representatives approved the revised version of the bill on Friday, October 3, and 90 minutes later President Bush signed it into law.
Culver comments on economic rescue package
Iowa Governor Chet Culver issued the following statement on the economic rescue package passed by the U.S. House and signed by President Bush.
"Here in Iowa we are facing two economic challenges: the national financial crisis and the impact of natural disasters. The support of the federal government is critical in helping Iowa respond on both fronts, and today marks a step in the right direction", said Culver.
"It is important that credit continues to be available for small businesses to meet their payrolls, families to afford their homes and students to pay for their college education," he added. "The financial package approved by Congress is about Main Street, not just Wall Street, and that will make a difference for hard-working Iowans statewide."
Wind production tax credit is also extended
"I'm also pleased the legislation includes measures to extend the wind production tax credit, which is vital to continuing Iowa's leadership in creating new jobs and economic opportunities through wind energy production," Culver said.
The Governor made the comments while he was in Washington, DC to meet with Administration officials on the latest round of disaster aid, which was signed earlier in the week. The $23 billion measure included $6.5 billion for Community Development Block Grants for states to meet the challenges from a multitude of disasters that have impacted the nation.
The Governor held meetings with Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez and officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, USDA and the US Dept. of Health and Human Services to discuss the latest on Iowa's disaster recovery efforts, and to press for more federal funding for Iowa's unmet needs.
"Because of the large number of Iowans impacted by floods and tornadoes in 2008, government bureaucracy cannot stand in the way of needed help," said Culver. "In meetings today I asked federal leaders to be flexible and responsive in order to put the needs of people who have suffered first and foremost."