FOOD, CONSERVATION, AND ENERGY ACT OF 2008--CONFERENCE REPORT -- (Senate - May 15, 2008)
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Mr. VITTER. Mr. President, I stand in strong support of this consensus, bipartisan farm bill, and I encourage all of my colleagues, Democratic and Republican, to show strong bipartisan support.
I support this bill fundamentally for three reasons: First, as the last farm bill, it establishes predictability for our farmers, a stable environment so they can plan and prosper in the future. Second, it does that in a fiscally responsible way--no tax increases, payment limit reform, and other reforms--to move us down the path of fiscal responsibility. Third, it does some very crucial and important work for Louisiana farmers in particular in a number of different areas.
In the area of sugar, we have a three-quarter of a cent loan rate increase, the first such loan rate increase since 1985. It is long overdue.
In the rice industry, the industry requested changes to the uniform loan rate for different types of rice to make that more uniform and helpful to the industry, and we have done that.
In the area of timber, there are tax provisions that reduce maximum taxes on gains from certain timber from 20 percent, the capital gains rate, to a maximum of 15 percent. That is enormously important.
In the area of milk, as my colleague from Pennsylvania mentioned, there are important improvements and provisions, changes to the MILC Program that will help domestic dairy farmers.
There are plenty of good, solid, responsible reasons to be for this bill. Fundamentally, it will create that predictability, that stability our farmers need to plan into the future and to prosper into the future, which is good not just for them but for all Americans, including Americans as consumers, which, of course, is all of us.
I encourage all of my colleagues to support this bill. I encourage President Bush to reconsider his veto threat and not veto the bill. But certainly, if it is necessary, I will stand and vote to support overriding that Presidential veto. I encourage my colleagues to also be firm in that regard.
Mr. President, I yield the floor. I yield back the remainder of my time.