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Array ( [pressrelid] => Array ( [0] => 231 [1] => 230 [2] => 229 ) [pressreltitle] => Array ( [0] => Congress Approves Bill to Fund Government [1] => House Passes Tax Extender Bill for 2014 [2] => President Announces Executive Actions on Immigration ) [pressrellink] => Array ( [0] => https://www.horsecouncil.org/washington-report/congress-approves-bill-to-fund-government/ [1] => https://www.horsecouncil.org/washington-report/house-passes-tax-extender-bill-for-2014/ [2] => https://www.horsecouncil.org/washington-report/president-announces-executive-actions-on-immigration/ ) [pressrelcontent] => Array ( [0] => On December 13, 2014, an omnibus appropriations bill, which will fund the government through September 30, 2015, was passed... [1] => On December 3, the House of Representatives passed the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 (H.R. 5771). The bill... 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This bill is a package that includes parts of the FY 2015 appropriations bills, except Homeland Security, and will fund most government agencies and programs until the end of the fiscal year, September 30, 2015. The omnibus bill contains several provisions that impact the horse industry, including the U.S. Department Agriculture (USDA) FY 2015 appropriations bill. Normally, Congress debates and approves separate appropriation bills for each federal agency. However, Congress has been unable to pass any individual FY 2015 appropriations bills and has been relying on a Continuing Resolution (CR) that is an extension of previous bills to keep the government operating. This omnibus bill will keep the government open. FY 2015 USDA Appropriations Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and Equine Health The bill appropriates $871.3 million for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). APHIS is the USDA agency responsible for protecting the U.S. equine industry and responding to contagious equine disease outbreaks. Funding for Equine, Cervid, and Small Rumiant health is set at $19.5 million, the same as FY 2014. Horse Slaughter The bill includes language that prohibits USDA from using any funds to provide inspectors at meat processing facilities that slaughter horses, continuing a block that begin in 2005, except for a brief period in 2012 and 2013. No horse slaughter facilities are operating in the U.S. and this bill would effectively prevent any such facility from opening until September 30, 2015. The language was included in the omnibus bill because both the Senate and House Appropriations Committees adopted amendments that prohibited funding for inspectors at horse slaughter facilities when they debated and approved their respective versions of the FY 2015 USDA appropriations bill. The Senate amendment was offered by Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC); the House amendment was offered by Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA). Horse Protection Act The bill provides $697,000 for enforcement of the Horse Protection Act, the same as FY 2014. Wild Horses and Burros The omnibus bill also includes a provision that would prohibit the Bureau of Land Management from euthanizing healthy wild horses in its care or from selling wild horses or burros that results in their being processed into commercial products. EPA and Corps Interpretive Rule Earlier this year the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) issued an “interpretive rule” (IR) regarding the Clean Water Act (CWA) exemptions for agricultural discharges of dredge and fill materials into “Waters of the U.S.” that was made effective immediately. For the first time the IR limited the exemption for agricultural discharges of dredge and fill materials to 56 specified conservation practices. Previously, it was understood that the exemption applied to all "normal farming, silviculture and ranching activities, such as plowing, seeding, cultivating, minor drainage, harvesting for the production of food, fiber, and forest products, or upland soil and water conservation practices.” The AHC opposed the IR because it could place new constraints on horse farms and ranches. The bill would require the EPA and Corp to withdraw the IR and prohibit requiring a permit for dredge and fill material. The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act The bill also extends the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) until September 30, 2016. FLREA is the authorizing legislation that allows the federal land management agencies to charge fees, but also limits when fees can be charged and how those fees are used. The bill is expected to be signed by the President shortly. [post_title] => Congress Approves Bill to Fund Government [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => congress-approves-bill-to-fund-government [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-10-10 04:18:31 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-10-10 09:18:31 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.horsecouncil.org/?post_type=washington-report&p=231 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => washington-report [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 230 [post_author] => 2953 [post_date] => 2015-10-10 04:15:18 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-10-10 09:15:18 [post_content] => On December 3, the House of Representatives passed the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 (H.R. 5771). The bill would extend several tax provisions favorable to the horse industry, including three-year depreciation for all race horses, which expired or were reduced at the end of 2013. The bill extends these provisions retroactively for assets placed in service at any time in 2014.

Since many of the provisions in the House-passed bill are also in the Senate tax extender bill, it is expected to pass the Senate shortly and be sent to the President before the lame-duck session of this Congress ends next week.

During 2013 and before, horse owners, breeders, and equine businesses enjoyed a number of favorable tax provisions that reverted to lower levels or expired at the end of 2013. Over sixty tax provisions expired. The bill would extend many of the provisions at 2013 levels through 2014. A description of these provisions follows.

179 Expense Deduction. For the last few years, the so-called Section 179 business expense deduction was set at $500,000. This meant that anyone in the horse business could immediately depreciate up to $500,000 of the cost of any investment in business assets, including horses. The deduction was reduced dollar-for-dollar once investment in all one's business activities hit $2 million.

This provision was not extended by Congress and had reverted to $25,000 for 2014.

The House bill would extend the expense deduction at 2013 levels of $500,000, with a phase-out at $2 million, for assets, including horses, placed in service in 2014.

Bonus Depreciation. Anyone in the horse business could also write-off up to 50% of new property purchased and placed in service in 2013, including horses and other equipment. This was known as "bonus depreciation." It was restricted to new assets, which meant that the first use of the horse or other property had to begin with the taxpayer. This provision was not extended by Congress and had expired for 2014.

The House bill would extend bonus depreciation at 50% for new assets purchased and placed in service in 2014.

Depreciation of Race Horses. From 2009 through 2013 all race horses were depreciated over three years, regardless of their age when they were placed in service. This provision was passed in 2008 through the efforts of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

This change, which eliminated the 7-year depreciation period for race horses, expired at the end of 2013.

The House bill would extend the three-year recovery period for all race horses placed in service in 2014.

Conservation Easements. Favorable rules for contributions by farmers and ranchers of capital gain real property for conservation easements, allowing a deduction of up to 100% of the donor’s contribution base, expired for 2013.

The House bill would extend through 2014 the enhanced deduction involving conservation easements.

The House bill must now be passed by the Senate and sent to the President for signing. [post_title] => House Passes Tax Extender Bill for 2014 [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => house-passes-tax-extender-bill-for-2014 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-10-10 04:15:18 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-10-10 09:15:18 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.horsecouncil.org/?post_type=washington-report&p=230 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => washington-report [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 229 [post_author] => 2953 [post_date] => 2015-10-10 04:13:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-10-10 09:13:31 [post_content] => Last night, President Obama announced a series of immigration executive actions relating to border security, deportation proceedings, and undocumented immigrants, including action to defer deportation for certain individuals that in effect provides them with temporary legal status and the ability to work legally.

It is unclear to what extent these executive actions will apply to any undocumented workers in the horse industry. But it is very likely that there are workers in the horse industry who meet these requirements and will benefit from the President’s actions. Certainly there are experienced workers in the horse industry who lack proper immigration status and do not have valid residency documents. It is impossible at this point to tell how many and whether they would continue to work in the horse industry once provided general work authorization.

Specifically, the President has directed the Department of Homeland Security to create a new deferred action program for people who are parents of U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents and have lived in the United States for five years or longer, if they register, pass a background check, and pay taxes. Such Individuals will have the opportunity to request temporary relief from deportation and work authorization for three years at a time if they come forward and register, submit biometric data, pass background checks, pay fees, and show that their child was born before the date of the President’s announcement.

Additionally, individuals who were brought to the United States as children can apply for this deferred action program if they entered before January 1, 2010, regardless of how old they are today.

Many specific details have yet to be announced. It is unclear at this time if Congress will move to block these executive actions and/or when this new deferred deportation program will begin. The Secretary of Homeland Security is expected to issue new guidelines shortly on how the executive actions will be applied and enforced. The immigration executive actions and new programs will continue until ended by some Congressional action, by the next President, or by the passage of a comprehensive immigration bill.

Comprehensive immigration reform has been a priority of the horse industry for many years. The difficulty horse farms, horse shows, trainers and others have had recruiting American workers has forced many to rely on foreign workers and utilize both the H-2A and H-2B temporary foreign worker programs to meet their labor needs. However, these current programs are not reliable and are extremely burdensome to use.

In addition, many of the workers employed in the industry may lack legal status. Deporting these workers would have a devastating effect on the farms, ranches, training facilities, and trainers who have relied upon them for years. A way to permanently legalize such workers is critical to the industry.

The President’s action does not fix or even address the many problems with the H-2A and H-2B programs or address undocumented workers that don’t meet the requirements for this new program. For these reasons it remains critical that the Administration and Congress take action on comprehensive immigration reform. [post_title] => President Announces Executive Actions on Immigration [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => president-announces-executive-actions-on-immigration [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-10-10 04:13:31 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-10-10 09:13:31 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.horsecouncil.org/?post_type=washington-report&p=229 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => washington-report [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 3 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 231 [post_author] => 2953 [post_date] => 2015-10-10 04:18:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-10-10 09:18:31 [post_content] => On December 13, 2014, an omnibus appropriations bill, which will fund the government through September 30, 2015, was passed by Congress. This bill is a package that includes parts of the FY 2015 appropriations bills, except Homeland Security, and will fund most government agencies and programs until the end of the fiscal year, September 30, 2015. The omnibus bill contains several provisions that impact the horse industry, including the U.S. Department Agriculture (USDA) FY 2015 appropriations bill. Normally, Congress debates and approves separate appropriation bills for each federal agency. However, Congress has been unable to pass any individual FY 2015 appropriations bills and has been relying on a Continuing Resolution (CR) that is an extension of previous bills to keep the government operating. This omnibus bill will keep the government open. FY 2015 USDA Appropriations Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and Equine Health The bill appropriates $871.3 million for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). APHIS is the USDA agency responsible for protecting the U.S. equine industry and responding to contagious equine disease outbreaks. Funding for Equine, Cervid, and Small Rumiant health is set at $19.5 million, the same as FY 2014. Horse Slaughter The bill includes language that prohibits USDA from using any funds to provide inspectors at meat processing facilities that slaughter horses, continuing a block that begin in 2005, except for a brief period in 2012 and 2013. No horse slaughter facilities are operating in the U.S. and this bill would effectively prevent any such facility from opening until September 30, 2015. The language was included in the omnibus bill because both the Senate and House Appropriations Committees adopted amendments that prohibited funding for inspectors at horse slaughter facilities when they debated and approved their respective versions of the FY 2015 USDA appropriations bill. The Senate amendment was offered by Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC); the House amendment was offered by Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA). Horse Protection Act The bill provides $697,000 for enforcement of the Horse Protection Act, the same as FY 2014. Wild Horses and Burros The omnibus bill also includes a provision that would prohibit the Bureau of Land Management from euthanizing healthy wild horses in its care or from selling wild horses or burros that results in their being processed into commercial products. EPA and Corps Interpretive Rule Earlier this year the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) issued an “interpretive rule” (IR) regarding the Clean Water Act (CWA) exemptions for agricultural discharges of dredge and fill materials into “Waters of the U.S.” that was made effective immediately. For the first time the IR limited the exemption for agricultural discharges of dredge and fill materials to 56 specified conservation practices. Previously, it was understood that the exemption applied to all "normal farming, silviculture and ranching activities, such as plowing, seeding, cultivating, minor drainage, harvesting for the production of food, fiber, and forest products, or upland soil and water conservation practices.” The AHC opposed the IR because it could place new constraints on horse farms and ranches. The bill would require the EPA and Corp to withdraw the IR and prohibit requiring a permit for dredge and fill material. The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act The bill also extends the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) until September 30, 2016. FLREA is the authorizing legislation that allows the federal land management agencies to charge fees, but also limits when fees can be charged and how those fees are used. The bill is expected to be signed by the President shortly. 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