Business Beat
5:04 pm
Wed January 2, 2013

Checkoff beef and fiscal cliff (for now)

Credit File Photo / KBIA

Did you feel that pullback January 1st? That was Congress finally passing a compromise bill to prevent the country from careening off the fiscal cliff. In the early hours of 2013, the Senate passed the bill. And much later that day, the House passed it.

This bill extends tax cuts for income below $450,000 for couples and $400,000 for individuals. And sequestration, or the $109 billion dollars in cuts to defense and non-defense spending, has been put on hold for two more months. The Farm Bill has been extended for another year to allow legislators more time to put together a new version.

Also, the bill postpones a planned 27 percent cut to Medicare payments to doctors and patches the Alternative Minimum Tax to make annual fixes unnecessary for 10 years.

But the battle in Congress isn’t over yet.

Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt says Americans can expect another few months of contention as the new 113th Congress negotiates over spending cuts and raising the debt ceiling again – an issue that President Barack Obama has said he will not tolerate another debate over.

“There has to be a negotiation. The debt limit can only be raised by Congress. And the House of Representatives – a pretty important part of the Congress – is totally focused on cutting spending, then that’s going to be part of that debt ceiling discussion.”

The U.S. Treasury reported Monday that the country has already reached its $16 trillion ceiling limit.

People who raise cattle are, as a rule, independent and far flung geographically. But, almost all the beef they raise comes to market through just four enormous packing companies. In the conclusion to Harvest Public Media’s series, "America’s Big Beef," Frank Morris explores how the cattle industry’s deep divide has come to a head over something called the Beef Checkoff.

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