Ag Policy Blog

Obama Cites Farm Bill as Top Economic Priority

Jerry Hagstrom
By  Jerry Hagstrom , DTN Political Correspondent
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In a speech in New Orleans today, President Barack Obama listed passing a farm bill as the No. 1 way that Democrats and Republicans can increase jobs in the economy.

Helping American businesses grow; creating more jobs these are not Democratic or Republican priorities, Obama said.

"They are priorities that everybody, regardless of party, should be able to get behind. And that's why, in addition to working with Congress to grow our exports, I've put forward additional ideas where I believe Democrats and Republicans can join together to make progress right now," Obama said.

Number one, Obama said, Congress needs to pass a farm bill that helps rural communities grow and protects vulnerable Americans.

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They are priorities that everybody, regardless of party, should be able to get behind. And that’s why, in

"For decades, Congress found a way to compromise and pass farm bills without fuss. For some reason, now Congress can't even get that done.," Obama said. "Now, this is not something that just benefits farmers. Ports like this one depend on all the products coming down the Mississippi. So let’s do the right thing, pass a farm bill. We can start selling more products. That's more business for this port. And that means more jobs right here."

Obama listed immigration reform and a responsible budget as his second and third priorities.

During the speech at the port, Obama pointed out the ports importance to U.S. agricultural exports and to the end of red tape that is slowing infrastructure improvements.

"In so many ways, this port is representative of what ports all around the country do: They help to keep our economy going moving products, moving people, making sure that businesses are working," Obama said.

The president also pointed to the importance of water infrastructure projects. The Water Resources Development Act is also ready for conference talks to begin as well.

"You've got corn and wheat that's coming down from my home state of Illinois down the river, ending up here, and then going all around the world. And it's part of the reason why we've been able to increase exports so rapidly, is because we've got some of the best natural resources and waterways and facilities in the world," he said.

If there's one thing that members of Congress from both parties want, its smart infrastructure projects that create good jobs in their districts, he continued.

"That's why, last year, I took the step without Congress to speed up the permitting process for big infrastructure projects like upgrading our ports. Just cut through the red tape. Get it done faster."

Obama also noted that on the trip he had learned that the Port of New Orleans handles a lot of the nation's coffee, which means you're responsible for keeping the White House awake at all times.

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