Congressman Hanna proposing new bill aimed to help farmers
In the current atmosphere in Washington, it's often who proposes a bill, rather than what is proposed, that can make a difference. YNN's Bill Carey says even a member of the republican majority in the House can face hurdles if he or she seems a bit too willing to work both sides of the aisle.
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ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. -- On a sultry day in farm country, Congressman Richard Hanna was unveiling a proposal.
Currently, farms are exempted from paying unemployment taxes on the first $20,000 of their payroll costs. That exemption was set back in 1974. The republican lawmaker says it should be doubled to $40,000 and then indexed to keep pace with inflation.
Hanna said, “They'll have more money freed up to pay their employees, buy equipment to run their farms. It basically allows them the exemption they've always had but acknowledges the fact that $20,000 today is not what it was in 1974.”
Farmers welcomed Hanna's plan, saying it will make a difference.
“Milk price is very volatile. So in order to withstand low milk price times especially, it's important to have every bit of income and revenue that you can,” dairy farmer Debbie Finn said.
Hanna believes that this bill should pass easily if Congress keeps in mind the plight of the dairy farmer. But he knows it’s like there could be a battle. The congressman says it has happened before. A good idea facing partisan stalemate. In this case, a danger sign. Hanna found a co-sponsor for the bill. A democrat from Vermont. He says he doesn't mind reaching across the aisle to create good legislation.
“I haven't created the volume of enemies that some of these guys do. I'm just there to work, you know. I was in business for 30 years. Nobody paid me for what I didn't get done,” Hanna said.
The freshman representative survived a primary challenge this year from a Tea Party Republican and he admits to facing some pressure within the party to toe the line.
“Yeah, do I hear things about, people say I'm not really a company guy. Yeah, a little bit. But that's not my concern,” said Hanna.
Hanna says when it comes to legislation, the key should be the impact, not who drew up the bill, nor whether it passes a partisan test
Hanna is facing a re-election challenge this year from democrat Dan Lamb in the newly redrawn 22nd Congressional District.