(Jan. 8, 3:25 p.m.) The trillion-dollar-plus stimulus package under consideration by Congress appears to have both good and bad elements for produce operators, one Washington lobbyist said Jan. 7.

Tax cuts for business were the positive part of president-elect Barack Obama’s plan, tagged at $100 billion over two years.

However, other elements of Obama’s plan were not as welcome among industry advocates.

“The stimulus package as Obama is advertising on his Web site has card check in it, so we are certainly going to be following that very closely,” said Cathy Enright, vice president of government affairs in Western Growers’ Washington, D.C., office.

Western Growers has said the so-called card check legislation would deny the secret ballot to workers at companies where unions are seeking to organize. Defeating card check legislation has been identified by Western Growers president Tom Nassif as a priority this year.

Though Obama’s Web site refers to card check in its description of the stimulus package, Enright said Senate and House leadership indicated in January that they did not expect card check legislation to be taken up until perhaps the spring.

Thomas Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, also raised concerns about the policy in a speech on Jan. 7. Donohue also expressed concern about unworkable regulatory approaches to climate change in the new Congress.

Another lobbyist, speaking on condition of anonymity, speculated the stimulus package could contain funding to assist with “shovel- ready” Western water projects. However, Obama insisted that no earmark funding for pet projects would be included in the bill.

Meanwhile, nutrition advocates lobbied for increased food stamp spending in the stimulus package.

Enright said House leadership wants the stimulus bill passed by the middle of February, but the soaring budget deficit in the U.S. — projected at $1.2 trillion this year — could create resistance to the plan among fiscally conservative Democrats and Republicans.