Wednesday: Key House Panel Expected To Approve Buchanan’s Citrus Bill
WASHINGTON – Congressman Vern Buchanan today announced that the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee will vote Wednesday on his bipartisan legislation to aid Florida farmers affected by citrus greening.
Buchanan’s Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act will make it less costly for growers to replace trees damaged by citrus greening, an incurable bacterial disease that has infected 99 percent of Florida’s commercial citrus groves. The full committee markup will be held at 3 p.m. in room 1100 of Longworth House Office Building.
“Congress should do all it can to support jobs,” Buchanan said. “My bill will help protect Florida’s iconic orange trees as well as the livelihoods of 62,000 Floridians who work in the citrus industry.”
Experts project a 26 percent decline in the state’s orange crop for this upcoming season – the worst in over 50 years.
The legislation provides tax incentives for farmers who cannot afford to replace trees affected by citrus greening. Under current law, growers are allowed an immediate deduction for the cost of replanting diseased trees, but the farmer must bear the full cost. Buchanan’s proposal would allow struggling farmers to use this deduction even if they bring in investors to raise capital for replanting costs, as long as the grower continues to own a major stake in the grove. It also extends this incentive to purchasers of land with diseased trees.
Every member of Florida’s congressional delegation supports the legislation. Additionally, the measure has been endorsed by Florida Citrus Mutual, the Florida Farm Bureau Federation and the American Farm Bureau Federation.
What: U.S. House Ways and Means Committee markup hearing
Where: 1100 Longworth House Office Building
When: Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 3:00 p.m.
Local media can live stream the markup here: http://waysandmeans.house.gov/live/