THE ISSUES

Agriculture

I believe ensuring the health and prosperity of our nation’s food suppliers is vital to our national security. That is why I have worked closely with the Florida Farm Bureau and other agriculture groups to prevent the Obama administration’s regulatory overreach that poses new challenges to our farmers. For example, I am a proud cosponsor of H.R. 4157, Preserving America’s Family Farms Act, which prevents the Department of Labor from implementing a rule greatly restricting the ability of youth to work on common farm equipment, like tractors. I also am a cosponsor of H.R. 4965, which blocks a guidance document by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would alter the definition of water to encompass all forms of water – from a neighbors runoff to septic tanks. Along these same lines, I am a cosponsor of H.R. 4278, the Preserving Rural Resources Act, which would curb the concerted effort by regulators to narrow the scope of agricultural exemptions in the Clean Water Act.

As Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, I led the federal effort to fight the EPA’s unprecedented and costly numeric nutrient criteria that threatened to harm Florida’s farms and business – with no certain benefit for improved water quality. This one rule, which only applied to Florida, was estimate by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to cost Florida’s agricultural community $1.1 billion annually and would have resulted in the loss of 14,545 full-time and part-time jobs.

Moreover, I have long supported estate tax reform and am a cosponsor of H.R. 1259, the Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act of 2011. This bill would make permanent a temporary relief passed in 2010 that taxes estates worth more than $5 million per individual, $10 million per couple, at a 35% rate. Unless Congress acts to provide permanent relief, the estate tax will revert back to pre-2001 levels where estates worth more than $1 million were taxed at a 55% rate.


Paid for by Friends of Cliff Stearns, Copyright 2012