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Farm Bill Conferees Named, Easement Incentive Still in Play

Advocates Alert: April 11, 2008

The farm bill is headed toward real decisions, and the tax incentive for conservation easements is still very much in play! Facing an April 18 deadline, yesterday House Leadership appointed 49 conferees who will be responsible for hammering out a final agreement on the Farm Bill.

The list of House conferees is reprinted at the bottom of this email.  We have highlighted those who have indicated their support for the conservation easement incentive, by cosponsoring HR 1576, or by signing the letter the Land Conservation Caucus sent the leadership, asking for inclusion of this provision in the Farm Bill.  Together, they are 25 of the 49 conferees.

The first meeting of the conference committee did not go well, but there have been some promising signs: the Senate is still pushing hard to include tax provisions like ours, Chairman Rangel appears to be objecting to some tax provisions more than others and even a scaled back House proposal included $4 billion in new funding for conservation spending.

It appears that there is likely to be a further extension of the conference to May 1—so we still have some time to work this. Your calls in the days ahead will be critical. Here’s how you can help:

  1. If your organization does any work in the districts of any of the conferees (listed below), please call today and ask to speak with the staff member who handles agriculture. Congratulate them on being named a Farm Bill conferee, thank them if they’re a cosponsor of HR 1576, and urge them to help ensure that the easement incentive included in Section 12203 of the Senate’s Farm Bill is included in the final bill

  2. Even if your Representative isn’t on this list, we still need their help! We need Democrats to contact Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) or Ways & Means Committee Chairman Rangel (D-NY) and Republicans to contact Ways & Means Ranking Member Jim McCrery (R-LA). Ask them to convey the following message: "The tax incentive for conservation easements in section 12203 of the Senate's Farm Bill is very important to landowners and conservationists in my district and it is extremely important to get this done in the Farm Bill."

Click here for a fact sheet you can use.

Things are likely to get very hectic and confusing in the days ahead, but we are still very much in this fight. Your help today can help make the easement incentive last forever.

House Conferees on the Farm Bill:
BOLD=Cosponsor of HR 1576      ITALIC=Signed letter asking leadership to include tax incentive in the Farm Bill

Democratic Conferees

From the Agriculture Committee:

  • Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota
  • Congressman Tim Holden of Pennsylvania
  • Congressman Mike McIntyre of North Carolina
  • Congressman Bob Etheridge of North Carolina
  • Congressman Leonard Boswell of Iowa
  • Congressman Joe Baca of California
  • Congressman Dennis Cardoza of California
  • Congressman David Scott of Georgia

Conferees on provisions with jurisdiction beyond the Agriculture Committee:

  • Congressman George Miller of California (Education and Labor)
  • Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy of New York (Education and Labor)
  • Congressman John Dingell of Michigan (Energy and Commerce)
  • Congressman Frank Pallone of New Jersey (Energy and Commerce)
  • Congressman Paul Kanjorski of Pennsylvania (Financial Services)
  • Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California (Financial Services)
  • Congressman Howard Berman of California (Foreign Affairs)
  • Congressman Brad Sherman of California (Foreign Affairs)
  • Congressman John Conyers of Michigan (Judiciary)
  • Congressman Bobby Scott of Virginia (Judiciary)
  • Congressman Nick Rahall of West Virginia (Natural Resources)
  • Delegate Madeline Bordallo of Guam (Natural Resources)
  • Congressman Henry Waxman of California (Oversight and Government Reform)
  • Congressman Edolphus Towns of New York (Oversight and Government Reform)
  • Congressman Bart Gordon of Tennessee (Science and Technology)
  • Congressman Nick Lampson of Texas (Science and Technology)
  • Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez of New York (Small Business)
  • Congressman Heath Shuler of North Carolina (Small Business)
  • Congressman Jim Oberstar of Minnesota (Transportation and Infrastructure)
  • Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton of the District of Columbia (Transportation and Infrastructure)
  • Congressman Charles Rangel of New York (Ways and Means)
  • Congressman Earl Pomeroy of North Dakota (Ways and Means)
  • Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut (Speaker's appointee)


Republican Conferees

From the Agriculture Committee:

  • Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Bob Goodlatte of Virginia
  • Congressman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma
  • Congressman Jerry Moran of Kansas
  • Congressman Robin Hayes of North Carolina
  • Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave of Colorado
  • Congressman Randy Neugebauer of Texas

Conferees on Farm Bill provisions with jurisdiction beyond the Agriculture Committee:

  • Congressman Todd Platts of Pennsylvania (Education and Labor)
  • Congressman Joe Barton of Texas (Energy and Commerce)
  • Congressman Spencer Bachus of Alabama (Financial Services)
  • Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida (Foreign Affairs)
  • Congressman Lamar Smith of Texas (Judiciary)
  • Congresswoman Cathy McMorris-Rodgers of Washington (Natural Resources)
  • Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio (Oversight and Government Reform)
  • Congressman Michael McCaul of Texas (Science and Technology)
  • Congressman Steve Chabot of Ohio (Small Business)
  • Congressman Sam Graves of Missouri (Transportation and Infrastructure)
  • Congressman Jim McCrery of Louisiana (Ways and Means)
  • Congressman Adam Putnam of Florida (Minority Leader's appointee)

FYI- Tomorrow morning, many of you will receive an email seeking your response to a survey on the impact of the expanded easement incentive. Your organization’s prompt response will be critical to demonstrating the success of this incentive at a key moment for securing its renewal.

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July 17: The House just voted 277-130 to pass the charities package! 56 Democrats joined their Republican colleagues to support charitable giving incentives, including the enhanced easement incentive - the second-highest number of defections after the research and development tax credit. Several others spoke on the floor in support of the conservation easement incentive, and other favorable charitable incentives. Thank you to organizations like Ducks Unlimited, CSF and others that reached out to Congressional offices over the last few days or alerted their membership of this important vote. Now, we pivot to the Senate.
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