Ag News

AFBF applauds infrastructure bill, criticizes Build Back Better

by Compiled by Georgia Farm Burea

Posted on Nov 22, 2021 at 0:00 AM

As bills establishing two of President Joe Biden’s major policy initiatives draw attention in  Washington, D.C., the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) voiced the organization’s positions on the Bipartisian Infrastructure Framework (BIF) and the Build Back Better Act (BBB).

BIF, officially titled the “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,” was passed by Congress and Biden signed it into law on Nov. 15. It is a $1.2 trillion spending package with provisions to improve roads, bridges and railroads, modernize water supply systems and build out broadband internet networks. AFBF supported the bill.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented Nov. 5 on the bipartisan infrastructure package.

“While AFBF was disappointed with the unnecessary delays in the House of Representatives, we appreciate Congress finally passing crucial bipartisan infrastructure legislation,” Duvall said. “We cannot afford to ignore the millions of miles of roadways, waterways and railways rural America relies on to keep our country fed, especially as we see widespread supply chain challenges. Extending broadband to rural communities is just as much a priority. A quarter of America’s farm families have no high-speed internet access while working to meet the needs of a growing world. Investments in physical infrastructure like broadband will be critical to bridging the digital divide.”

BIF includes $550 billion in new spending. Of that, $284 billion is for surface transportation projects, while $266 billion is designated for projects termed “core infrastructure,” including broadband and electrical grids.

“Bipartisan efforts such as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provide commonsense solutions to our nation’s infrastructure challenges, and we look forward to seeing the bill signed into law,” Duvall said.

The law includes an exemption for livestock and insect haulers from hours of service regulations within a 150 air-mile radius from their final destination.

Click here for AFBF’s analysis of the bill.

It is important to note BIF is separate from BBB, which was passed Nov. 19 by the House and awaits consideration in the Senate. AFBF opposes BBA (also referred to as the reconciliation bill)  because, as Duvall noted in a Nov. 16 letter to House lawmakers, the massive amount of spending and tax increases required to pay for the plan outweigh the gains for rural America.

“While some elements of the reconciliation package would benefit agriculture, the massive amount of spending and tax increases required to pay for the plan outweigh the gains we would see in rural America,” Duvall wrote. “We appreciate House efforts to protect farmers and ranchers by leaving key tax provisions untouched. Thousands of small businesses, however, would still be affected by tax increases, forcing them to pass increased costs to families across the nation.”

Click here to read the letter.

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