What will the next Congress look like? It's a question a lot of people are asking. Some incumbents didn't even make it through their primaries. Others are facing an uphill battle in the general election. Some are forecasting a GOP takeover of the House and Senate. Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who is up for re-election but has a strong lead in the polls, says it's difficult to predict how that might impact a lame duck session.
"Republicans could take the view, 'We'll control the next Congress, we ought to put it over until January'," Grassley said. "That has a lapse like we've had for nine months on biodiesel. A further lapse I don't think would be good. So I would hope there might be a message sent to incumbent Democrats, that may be in the minority, that for the good of the country before they leave office they ought to help us get some of these things done."
Looking beyond the lame duck session to 2011 Grassley doesn't see a Republican takeover, particularly of the Senate, having much of an impact on ag policy. Instead he says it would more likely affect energy policy, including the ethanol and biodiesel tax credits.
"We would take the view that extending existing tax policy as opposed to creating new tax policy or broadening tax policy, we won't need offsets," Grassley said. "Offsets are the controversial aspects of the biodiesel tax credit and the ethanol tax credit along with 71 other tax credits. None of them are controversial; they become controversial because whether you need an offset and what those offsets are going to be."
Grassley says it's better to deal with tax policy sooner rather than later. He says the uncertainty about these credits have been detrimental to bringing unemployment down. On the issue of trade, Grassley believes a Republican Congress would have more interest in getting pending trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea passed.