By Todd Neeley
DTN Staff Reporter
OMAHA (DTN) -- Chances are the U.S. Senate version of a tax-extenders bill, which includes a number of extensions for bioenergy and agriculture, will come up for a vote in the next two weeks, said Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, during a conference call with agriculture reporters Tuesday.
The Senate Finance Committee approved the Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform and Efficiency Act, or "EXPIRE," on April 3.
"When (Sen. Harry) Reid decides he wants to bring up the bill, he'll bring it up," Grassley said. "It will probably be brought up with no changes and it will likely pass."
The tax provisions in the bill expired Dec. 31. If passed, the bill would provide extensions for the rest of 2014 and all of 2015, Grassley said.
The legislation includes a number of key provisions for biofuels, wind energy and agriculture.
If passed in its current form, the Senate measure would raise Section 179 farm equipment and machinery deductions and depreciation schedules for 2014 and 2015 to $500,000 maximum for any business with less than $2 million in property in service.
The bill would extend 50% bonus depreciation for qualified property brought into service before Jan. 1, 2016.
On the wind energy side, the bill excludes an extension for the production tax credit and investment tax credit despite efforts by Grassley and other senators to include the provisions.
The Senate bill would extend the $1.01-per-gallon cellulosic-biofuels-producer tax credit through 2015.
That particular provision in the bill is an important aspect of an emerging cellulosic ethanol industry.
Several companies are slated to begin commercial production of so-called advanced biofuels in 2014.
The extenders bill would keep alive the $1-per-gallon biodiesel tax credit and the 10-cent-per-gallon agri-biodiesel producer tax credit.
The U.S. biodiesel industry recorded one of its best-ever production years in 2013. Although the future of the renewable fuel standard remains in limbo as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers a proposed cutback in the mandated blending levels for biofuels in 2014, biodiesel is the only commercially viable advanced biofuel.
Also during the press conference Tuesday, Grassley said he doesn't believe China's ban of corn imports containing Syngenta's Agrisure Viptera MIR 162 technology was based on science.
According to two economic analyses conducted by the National Grain and Feed Association earlier this month, the U.S. corn, distillers grains and soybean sectors have sustained up to $2.9 billion in economic losses from China's action.
"We have to make sure everything China does is science-based," Grassley said. "When a product is determined to be safe in this country, it shouldn't be kept out of China. I'm surprised China took this action because they will need to be a major importer of corn."
Grassley said he is unaware of any action taken by the U.S. government in response to the ban, but that "action needs to be taken."
Todd Neeley can be reached at email@example.com.
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