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Agriculture Plan

The agriculture industry is the backbone of our region and has driven our economy for generations. The 22nd District is home to over 4,300 farms and 7,400 producers. These enterprises are engines of our Upstate economy that provide jobs to local workers and fill our groceries and schools with nutritious local products. As you know, farms are also family-run businesses. 94% of the farms in the 22nd Congressional District are family owned and operated.

In recent years this indispensable industry has suffered in the face of unfair foreign trade practices, hostile federal policies, and the market disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Farms and agricultural producers are essential to the success of our communities and providing needed jobs and opportunities. We must do all we can to enact smart agricultural policies to allow our farmers and rural communities to compete in the global marketplace.

I am backing a multipronged approach that advances pro-farmer agriculture policies, supports programs that allow our food industry to recover fully from the pandemic, and fights for tax policies that encourage the growth of these family businesses. I am supporting a package of bills and policies in Congress that will deliver results. My plan will unleash the potential of our rural communities and give farmers and producers the certainty and flexibility they need to succeed.

Advocating for pro-farmer agriculture policies

  1. Cosponsored H.R. 1661, the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act: This bipartisan legislation will allow unflavored and flavored whole milk to be offered in school cafeterias. Whole milk is a healthy source of key nutrients such as calcium, potassium, and vitamin D. This will help support our Upstate dairy farms and give schools the flexibility needed to serve children nutritious food.

  1. Cosponsored H.R. 2828, the DAIRY PRIDE Act: This bipartisan legislation will require all food products labeled with dairy terminology such as milk, yogurt, and cheese to have come from a hoofed animal. Mislabeled plant-based imitation dairy products have significantly different nutritional profiles, and it is essential the FDA issue guidance to prevent any confusion for consumers. It is important Americans can easily understand the nutritional benefit from dairy provided by our Upstate dairy farmers and producers.

  1. Cosponsored H.Res. 318, to support the Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection rule: This legislation will call on the Biden Administration to not repeal the commonsense Navigable Waters Protection rule put in place by the Trump Administration, which ensured the definition of federally protected waterways only included larger bodies such as lakes and rivers. For too long our farmers were burdened with excessive regulation for responsibly managing their land. There is no justification for farm watering ponds and seasonal streams to be included under existing law.

Helping farmers recover from the pandemic

  1. Cosponsored H.R. 4568, the ENTRÉE Act: Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic our restaurant industry and their suppliers were decimated. This created enormous economic hardship for many of our farmers who have had trouble finding a market for their goods. The ENTRÉE Act will replenish the Restaurant Revitalization fund to get the industry fully reopened and operating. It will also increase oversight of taxpayer funds and eliminate the preferential treatment provisions deemed unconstitutional by the courts.

  1. Demanded USDA immediately improve administration of the CFAP program: In September 2021, I sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to urge them to immediately overhaul their administration of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). This program was created to assist farmers who faced market disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, when the Biden Administration entered office, they immediately suspended this assistance for months until they could formulate a new program. When the new CFAP2 program was launched in April 2021, many farmers were unable to get promised guidance from the USDA regarding how to apply for and use these funds. This is simply unacceptable, and Congress must provide oversight to ensure these essential funds are properly administered.

Fighting for fair tax treatment for family farms

  1. Cosponsored H.R. 1712, the Death Tax Repeal Act: The death tax unfairly targets family farms, small businesses, and those who chose to save. Americans already pay taxes on earned and investment incomes, making the death tax double taxation. To pay this tax many families are forced to sell off farms or take on debt that hampers growth. This legislation would immediately eliminate this unfair tax, giving family enterprises and farms the certainty they need to grow and pass their legacy on to future generations.

  1. Cosponsored H.R. 1381, the Main Street Tax Certainty Act: This legislation would permanently reauthorize the successful Qualified Business Income tax deduction created in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. For years, many small businesses, including farmers, had to pay the individual income tax rate, giving them a much larger tax bill than their larger corporate competition. This deduction allows these small businesses to effectively lower their tax rate, giving them a more equal playing field.

  1. Signed letter to President Biden to support stepped-up basis: Earlier this year I joined with my colleagues in Congress to urge President Biden to drop his plan to eliminate stepped-up basis. This important tax provision allows Americans to reset the value of their home, business, or farm for tax purposes when it is passed from one generation to the next. Eliminating it will simply create a back door death tax for any American who wants to pass something on to their children and loved ones.

Your views are always important to me. Please write to me on my website or call my office at 202-225-3665 with feedback, questions, or concerns.