A week ago, President Obama released the American Jobs Act, a specific plan to jumpstart our economy and put Americans to work today. It contains ideas that both parties in Washington have supported. And yesterday, he laid out a plan that will pay for it – and for other long-term investments we need to stay competitive – while reducing our deficits.
The plan takes a balanced approach. It looks for savings across government. And it asks everyone to do their part and pay their fair share so we can live within our means.
For agriculture, the plan focuses on what the President and I believe is one of the most pressing challenges facing producers right now: maintaining a strong safety net and disaster assistance programs that will work for all farmers and ranchers, no matter what they produce or where they produce it.
The plan will extend our disaster assistance programs, which are currently set to run out of funding on October 1. We will pay for the extension by making modest reductions to the subsidies that crop insurance companies receive. Without the President’s plan, producers will lose the added protection our disaster programs offer.
These aren’t easy changes, but they will help us maintain a strong safety net in the long term so that farmers knocked down by natural disaster can get their operations back on track. After witnessing flood, drought, hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires this year, I am even more certain of the importance of this component of the safety net.
Farmers and ranchers know that to succeed they must work hard and invest wisely. But they also understand the importance of living within their means. Following the farm crisis of the 1980s, they have taken steps to reduce their debt, and have thrived in recent years.
The President’s plan takes a page out of their playbook. The American Jobs Act will put people back to work now while building a strong foundation for sustained economic growth. We just need folks in Washington D.C. to come together and get it done.
At the same time, the President is making the tough calls and tough choices we need to get our fiscal house in order. All of this will help create jobs, promote growth, and help build a stronger middle class.
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