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Congress makes late 2015 push to pass legislation

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Late last week Congress continued its scramble of year-end work to pass important legislation before adjourning until after the first of the year.On Friday, Congress passed Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH), a bill that includes two important provisions affecting farmers. The bill includes a Section 179 provision that will permanently allow a business to expense up to $500,000, up from a limit of $25,000. The $500,000 limit is reduced dollar for dollar after expenditures reach $2 million. The provision also would index both the $500,000 and $2 million limits for inflation beginning in 2016.The PATH Bill also extends the existing bonus depreciation for the purchase of new capital assets for another 5 years at 50% for 2015-2017, 40% in 2018 and 30% in 2019. President Obama signed the legislation later on Friday afternoon.“These tax provisions allow farmers to reinvest in their operations — and that has a ripple effect across the entire agriculture industry and rural communities,” said Chip Bowling, National Corn Growers Association president.In addition, the House passed the FY 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Bill with a vote of 316-113 and the Senate followed suit passing the bill 65-33. The measures in the legislation included:Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) was retained for the lamb industry while it repealed the meat labeling provision for beef and pork.Language rejecting the President’s budget request regarding the termination of research programs, redirection of research programs or closure of research locations, to include the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station, were written into the bill.Language that would prohibit funding for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to issue rules to place the Greater Sage Grouse on the endangered species list.Funding for compensation to ranchers who experience livestock loss due to wolf depredation.With regard to COOL, the legislation addresses the cases from Canada and Mexico through the World Trade Organization, which ruled that the labeling program violated U.S. international trade obligations, discriminating against Canadian and Mexican livestock sent to the United States to be fed out and processed. The decision authorized Canada and Mexico to put retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods going to those countries — the No. 1 and No. 2 U.S. export markets. The WTO set the retaliation level at $1 billion annually.Language in the omnibus bill repeals the labeling provision for beef and pork, thus avoiding retaliation. There is significant support from agriculture with the COOL repeal, but also disappointment from some organizations.“Congress had a solution to make COOL compliant with our WTO obligations sitting on their desks for 5 months,” said Roger Johnson, National Farmers Union president. “Instead, they gave in to demands to completely remove most aspects of COOL for meat that provided meaningful information to the pubic. This is the type of legislative hocus pocus that has angered so many Americans.”There were some additional issues not included in the legislation, however, that are sources of concern in agriculture.“America’s farm and ranch families will benefit greatly from the strong, bipartisan congressional passage of important tax relief, funding and policy provisions. The legislation provides needed changes to tax policy, funding for programs important to farmers, ranchers and rural communities, and actions related to COOL to prevent retaliation against U.S. agricultural products,” said Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau. “While we know there were tough decisions made to secure enough votes for this very important package, we will continue pushing for action on those items that Congress did not include. We need national policy on GMO labeling that is based on science and does not allow a patchwork of confusion that would be created by state and local laws. We will also continue to work with Congress to send the Environmental Protection Agency’s onerous Waters of the U.S. rule back to the drawing board. Those two items are big pieces of unfinished business that America’s farmers and ranchers need as they work to produce food and fiber for our nation.”last_img read more

iOttie iON Wireless Mini Portable Charging Pad: Fast and Convenient

first_imgBlueair 680i Air Purifier: Clean Air For Your H… Related Posts Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at readwrite.com. Brad AndersonEditor In Chief at ReadWrite Molekule Air Purifier: Small in Stature, Big on…center_img Canvia Digital Art Turns Home and Office Walls … To make the smartphone charging experience more convenient and powerful, charging pads have emerged in the last few years. One of the latest to hit the market is the iOttie iON wireless mini fast charging pad.Here are my thoughts after using one of these charging pads for a few weeks.How it WorksThanks to this portable charging pad, you can charge your smartphones without needing any extra cables. All you do is put your phone on the charging surface, and it will begin charging automatically.It works for both iPhone and Samsung smartphones as well as a Qi-enabled device. For Android, it is compatible with the Samsung Galaxy S9, S9+, Galaxy S8, S8+, S7, S7 Edge, S6 S6 Edge, Note 9, 8, Note 5, LG G6, G6+ and all other Qi-enabled devices For Apple, the charging pad works with the iPhone X, 8, and 8 Plus.Charging Pad FeaturesWhile there is also a regular size charging pad from iOttie, this one is an inch shorter but doesn’t short you on any of the incredible features. This mini version features Qi wireless technology, which gives it incredible charging speed. There is an anti-slip silicone pad on the bottom of the pad that holds it in place while the anti-slip ring on the top of the charging pad keeps your smartphone from sliding off.The charging pad also has a reversible USB-C input that makes setup simple. It also has an LED charging indicator on the front of the wireless phone charger to verify that it is charging your device. This light is small, so it’s not something you will notice at night in case you have it charging in the same room.What I Like BestWhile it doesn’t have to look great as a utility, this fabric-wrapped charging pad has style. Plus, the linen fabric feels nice, making it almost luxurious.  It comes in red, gray, or beige and offers an aesthetically pleasing design. It’s wide enough to hold an iPhone X.The versatile charging pad even works well if your phone is in a case. It works with smartphone cases that are up to seven millimeters in thickness. The rectangular shape makes more sense those of other charging pads. I could line up my rectangular phone on the rectangular charging pad rather than hunting around in hopes I had found the right spot for charging to commence.Because of its small size and lightweight style thanks to the plastic body that holds the charging technology, the charging pad is comfortable to take with you anywhere, making it great when you need to work from the road. Also, it’s compact size means I can fit it anywhere, including my work desk so I can still use my phone at the same time if needed.While charging on the mini version is a bit slower than the bigger version, it still got the job done even when my iPhone was down to two percent on battery life.Where to BuyYou can purchase the charging pad directly from iOttie’s website. They offer free shipping and free 30-day returns. You can also find this charging pad on sites like Amazon.What Comes with ItAlong with the charging pad in your preferred color choice, you will also receive a four-foot USB-C to USB-A cable and a power adapter. It also comes with a hassle-free two-year warranty.ConclusionThe iOttie iON wireless mini charger offers a compact and convenient way to speed smartphone charging on the go. I’m fast becoming a convert to charging pads over being tied to a charging cord. HyperDrive Power 9-in-1 USB-C Hublast_img read more

Mergers of banks unilateral, says Mamata in letter to PM

first_imgDescribing the merger of two banks with headquarters out of Kolkata as unilateral, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that she was “deeply concerned about the overall impact of knee-jerk merger move across the country with negative effects on the entire banking sector”. Ms Banerjee began her letter by expressing concern that “two public sector banks headquartered in Kolkata are being merged with banks headquartered in Delhi and Chennai respectively without any consultation with the State government or with the management of these two banks”. The Finance Ministry has decided to merge United Bank of India, headquartered in Kolkata, with Punjab National Bank with its head office in Delhi and also Allahabad Bank, headquartered in Kolkata, with Indian Bank with its head office in Chennai. According to Ms Banerjee the development “will adversely affect the development momentum of the State”. Ms Banerjee argued that UBI is convener of the State level Banking Committee through which the State government is lending to MSME, self help groups and farmer credit cards. “The merger of UBI with a Delhi headquartered bank (PNB) will destabilise and undermine the significant grassroots role of UBI, at a heavy cost to rural Bengal” she said.Fate of employees She also expressed concern about the fate of thousands of employees of both the banks. She pointed out that 6,598 employees of UBI and 4,201 employees of Allahabad Bank are working in the State.last_img read more