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Posted at 02:58 PM ET, 06/20/2013

House adopts ‘Christmas-tree tax’ amendment


(Benjamin C Tankersley - BENJAMIN C TANKERSLEY)
Among the veritable cornucopia of amendments to the farm bill that the House considered on Thursday, we noticed one that might raise alarms for those paranoid about that “War on Christmas” being waged.

Lawmakers voted against blocking a fee to be attached to Christmas-tree sales, which would fund industry promotional campaigns.

(Of course, the massive farm-bill package ultimately failed spectacularly on final passage, but the fee can go forward regardless.)

Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), who sponsored the amendment nixing the fee, called it a “tax” that would have hit middle-class families. “There is no justification to impose another tax on the American people,” she told colleagues.

The pro-fee folks, though, ultimately prevailed, arguing that the fee was tiny — 15 cents a tree — and that similar programs exist for other industries. Remember those “Beef — It’s What’s for Dinner” and “Got Milk?” ads?

Expect Madison Avenue types to start dreaming up similar slogans for the tree folks. Our suggestions: “Need Needles?” “Pining for Christmas?”

Ornament-laden boughs weren’t the only greenery on lawmakers’ minds. Just moments after voting on the Christmas-tree legislation, the House approved a bill allowing hemp growing for research purposes.

And of course, there were plenty of other important amendments, including one eliminating the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center. And another overhauling dairy regulation — co-sponsored, of course, by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.). (We’ll take ours skim, thanks.)

By  |  02:58 PM ET, 06/20/2013

 
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