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After Shutdown, Grassley Ready to Pursue "Unfinished Business" in the Senate

Amy Mayer/IPR file photo
Corn is piled outside the Key Cooperative in Roland during harvest 2015.

Now that the three-day partial federal government shutdown has ended, Iowa’s senior senator says it’s time to complete some unfinished business.

Republican Chuck Grassley says some 30 tax provisions that expired at the end of 2016 are top on his list, including one for biodiesel.

“Its lapse has created uncertainty for everyone from soybean farmers to biodiesel producers to truck stops,” Grassley says. “I’ve been strongly advocating for acting as soon as possible on extenders legislation that includes an extension of the biodiesel credit.”

Grassley says the biodiesel industry employs 3,800 people in Iowa but is not yet mature enough to stand on its own without the federal tax support.

The senator also says the massive tax reform package that passed late last year needs to be revisited because he says a deduction it includes could pit grain elevators that are organized as co-ops against those run as private businesses.

Grassley says the law changed the so-called Section 199a tax provisions in a way that benefits farmer co-ops but has the unintended consequence of potentially devastating other grain elevators.

“And if Congress knew it at the time that the bill was passed, it wouldn’t have got through,” he says. “But you find out some of these things afterwards. So, it’s gotta be corrected.”

Grassley says the goal is to maintain the status quo for co-ops without giving them a competitive advantage in the marketplace that could put some private grain elevators out of business.

The senator says either a technical correction or a separate bill could fix the problem.

Amy Mayer is a reporter based in Ames