January 22, 2020

Budget and Farm Bill; CFTC Issues (MF Global); Ag Economy; Trade; and Political Notes

Budget and Farm Bill Issues

Janet Hook and Laura Meckler reported in today’s Wall Street Journal that, “House Republicans dug in for a year-end standoff Tuesday, scuttling a temporary extension to a payroll-tax break that President Barack Obama called the ‘only viable way’ to prevent a New Year’s tax increase.

The path out of this impasse is uncertain even by the standards of this topsy-turvy year for Congress, in which simple acts of legislating have been clouded by uncertainty. If Congress doesn’t act by Dec. 31, payroll taxes are slated to rise to 6.2% from 4.2%, affecting the paychecks of 160 million workers, and two million unemployed workers would lose federal benefits by mid-February.

“Tuesday, the House rejected by a 229-193 vote a bill passed by the Senate that would have extended the payroll-tax break for two months while Congress tried to fashion a longer-term fix. The GOP-controlled House, upending a deal that appeared set just days earlier, also demanded that Senate leaders return to Washington and negotiate a longer extension of the tax break as well as expiring benefits for the long-term unemployed and Medicare payments to doctors.”