AHC: Horse Industry Should Take Notice of New Congress

The 112th Congress of the United States convened in early January and will face many of the same issues left over from the last Congress. But they might remain on the table as this Congress' emphasis will be on cutting government programs and spending, reducing the deficit and debt, and spurring job growth. The House of Representatives has shifted to Republican control, while the Democrats still control the Senate, but with a smaller majority. More than 100 new members have taken their seats in the House and Senate--nearly a 20% turnover.

"Issues important to the horse industry will be on the table," noted Jay Hickey, president of the American Horse Council (AHC), which represents the horse industry in Washington. "Comprehensive immigration reform, internet wagering, tax reform, animal welfare, trails legislation, equine health, and the farm bill are important to the equine community. Overriding all debate, however, is how existing programs can be paid for and whether new programs can be initiated in a Congress that will be focused on reducing spending and the size of government."

Under new House rules any federal program, whether existing or new, involving spending increases must be offset by cuts of an equal amount in another program. The program cannot be funded by tax increases.

"Congress will be looking for ways to raise much-needed revenue. The horse industry must be vigilant to ensure that such revenue is not raised unfairly at its expense," Hickey said.

"Like most industries, the horse industry's legislative concerns don't break along partisan lines," Hickey added. "The industry must work on a bi-partisan basis with Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle. The AHC and the horse industry have been working with Congress for four decades. This is a new Congress with more than 100 new members."

Hickey reports that the AHC's Congressional Cavalry has been called upon "to welcome both the new and returning Members of Congress and to explain the importance of the horse industry to the nation's agricultural, economic, sporting and recreational life.

"The horse industry has a $112 billion affect on the economy and supports 1.5 million jobs," Hickey concluded. "Every state has a horse industry. Forty-five states have more than 20,000 horses. The equine community must continue to ensure that the 112th Congress recognizes that."

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