Last week, Congress reached an agreement to reduce the deficit and avoid a default that would have devastated our economy. This compromise – which guarantees more than $2 trillion in deficit reduction – is an important first step to ensuring that we live within our means as a nation.
At the same time, the debt deal allows us to keep making key investments in things like education and research that lead to new jobs. We’re also not cutting too abruptly while the economy is still fragile.
But this is just a first step. Moving forward, both parties in Washington must work together on a larger plan to cut the deficit, which is important for the long term health of our economy.
This is an opportunity for all of government to take a step back and evaluate what to do. For the USDA, it’s an opportunity for us to modernize and make the department more customer friendly, find efficiencies, and create ways for us to leverage our resources more effectively.
With the uncertainty the debate over the debt limit brought to the economy out of the way, we can continue to focus on what matters most to the American people – new jobs, higher wages and faster economic growth.
During a trip to Wisconsin this week, I attended an event to help connect small and medium sized businesses with the resources they need to export their food and agricultural goods overseas. We expect that this year will be the best ever in the history of agriculture exports – helping support over one million good-paying American jobs. This great success story has not been told often enough during these difficult times.
And as part of President Obama’s National Export Initiative, USDA is helping build on that story by supporting businesses with the information and financing they need to break into new markets, grow their profits and expand.
The White House Rural Council is focused on helping those same small and medium size businesses across rural America succeed. That is why I’ve asked USDA officials to meet with businesses and community leaders, farmers and ranchers across the country to explore ways federal, state and local officials can work together to improve economic conditions and create jobs.
In these tough economic times, it is important that government work with local partners to help strengthen job creation, innovation and quality of life in rural America. And so we are looking to best leverage federal dollars to create opportunities in rural communities.
At USDA, we are working every day to build a government that spends less but invests in its resources wisely, and to help develop the economy that makes, creates and innovates. When we do, we will create jobs and increase family incomes across the nation.
You can find the audio version of the weekly message here.