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COOL Repeal Included in Omnibus

Hoosier Ag Today by: Gary Truitt

Negotiators working on the omnibus spending bill have included a repeal of the mandatory Country-of-Origin meat labeling law. Debbie Stabenow, the top Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, who supported a voluntary measure earlier this year said this week that “we have to get this done,” referring to a repeal of COOL, according to Bloomberg. Repeal of COOL would allow the U.S. to avoid retaliatory tariffs from Mexico and Canada that could be imposed as early as next week. The World Trade Organization was expected to meet with Canada and Mexico regarding COOL tariffs on Friday, giving the final green light for just over $1 billion in tariffs to be imposed on the U.S.

A short-term continuing resolution is needed to give Congress yet again more time to pass the omnibus spending bill. The House is likely to vote on the massive appropriations bill Thursday, according to House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. The Republican did say of the bill before it being made public that “Democrats won some, they lost some; we won some, we lost some.” Roll Call reported that even with full cooperation, under the rules, a cloture vote would take place one hour after convening Saturday. Meanwhile, the White House signaled President Barack Obama would sign another short-term stopgap spending measure as omnibus talks continue. However, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest warned, there is a point at which Obama would withhold his signature from a short-term measure, adding “let’s hope we don’t reach it.” A tax extenders bill was expected to be completed separately, but later packaged with the spending bill. The tax bill does include bonus depreciation and section 179 expensing.

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