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Skelton says Congress keeps fighting for rural jobs, veterans, and seniors
Skelton says Congress keeps fighting for rural jobs, veterans, and seniors

Congressman Ike Skelton
WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 14, 2010) — Promoting job growth and economic development in our small towns and rural communities remains a top priority for me. In the Fourth District, this means strengthening the agricultural marketplace and small businesses that anchor our economy.

To that end, the House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 4213, a bill that would help Missouri farmers, small businesses, and veterans and has been endorsed by organizations like the American Farm Bureau, the AARP, and the Military Officer’s Association of America.

For Missouri farmers, H.R. 4213 would extend a series of tax cuts on which many agriculture producers have come to rely. Among several other credits, the five-year depreciation for farming machinery and equipment credit and the biodiesel tax credit have become integral parts of the agricultural economy. The biodiesel credit is also very important to the development and sustainability of America’s renewable fuel industry, an industry that provides jobs all over rural America and reduces our dependence on foreign energy. Due to the importance of these credits, the Farm Bureau and National Biodiesel Board have endorsed this legislation.

For Missouri businesses, the legislation would authorize several tax cuts designed to make more resources available to the small businesses that drive the American economy. For example, extending a research and development tax credit allows businesses to continue creating innovative, new products while another provision would expand the size of loans available for small business expansion. Because the business provisions included in H.R. 4213 are so very important, the bill is supported by the National Restaurant Association, the Independent Community Bankers Association, and the National Retail Federation.

While making great gains for small businesses and farmers, H.R. 4213 also would benefit Missouri veterans and senior citizens. The bill would allow many military retirees who are also disabled veterans to concurrently receive both Department of Defense military retirement pay and VA military disability pay for the next two years. As chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, I have worked hard to end this so-called “disabled veterans tax.” The bill also ensures that seniors, military retirees, and currently serving troops can continue seeing the doctor of their choice by preventing a devastating 21 percent cut in Medicare and TRICARE payments to physicians. For these reasons, H.R. 4213 is also supported by the AARP and the Military Officer’s Association of America.

While the American economy continues to recover from the Great Recession, Congress must not forget about those struggling throughout rural America. Whether it is strengthening the small businesses and farms that dominate our markets or helping the seniors and veterans who live in our communities, H.R. 4213 would provide meaningful relief during these tough times.

Congressman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) serves as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Congressman Skelton’s website is at www.house.gov/skelton.

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