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Omnibus to Include ‘Grain Glitch’ Fix, Housing Credit Expansion

Posted on March 22, 2018 by Asha Glover

Lawmakers have brokered a deal to add a “grain glitch” fix to the omnibus spending bill intended to keep the government funded past March 23. 

Under the agreement, Republicans would add corrected language to the spending bill fixing a mistake in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (P.L. 115-97) that gives a competitive advantage to farmers who sell to cooperative grain suppliers under the section 199A passthrough business income deduction, according to Senate Finance Committee member John Cornyn, R-Texas, who is the Republican whip.  

In exchange, the Democrats would add a provision expanding the low-income housing tax credit. 

“I think they’re in there,” Cornyn told reporters, referring to both provisions. 

Legislative text for the bill was released after deadline March 21.

National Council of Farmer Cooperatives President Chuck Conner welcomed lawmakers' inclusion of the grain glitch fix in a March 21 statement. 

"These provisions will accomplish the goal that NCFC and our member co-ops set out at the beginning of the tax reform debate last fall — preventing a tax increase on farmers and their co-ops by keeping the Domestic Production Activities Deduction,” he said. That prior-law section 199 deduction "will largely be recreated in this bill, which also preserves the competitive position of co-ops in the marketplace."

The combination of the renewed domestic production deduction and business deductions for individuals will mean "farmers selling to cooperatives have the opportunity to see more of a tax deduction than farmers selling to noncooperatives,” Conner said.  

Lawmakers have said that they are nearing an agreement on the final text of the spending legislation and expect to release it March 21.

Lawmakers have also said that online sales tax provisions will not be included in the omnibus.

President Trump met with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., about the omnibus bill March 21 and discussed their support for it, according to a statement from White House press secretary Sarah Sanders. 

While the White House and congressional Republican leadership support the bill, two Republican senators raised doubts about their support for the measure, calling into question its prospects on the Senate floor.

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., called the legislative process being used for the legislation “an embarrassment.” 

“I’m not going to vote for anything that I don’t have input into and I don’t have a reasonable chance to understand and that treats the nation’s debt like it’s some metaphysical concept as opposed to the real deal,” Kennedy told reporters. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said he’s undecided on the bill because there isn’t a bill yet. 

“How can people make a decision on bills that don’t exist?” he said.