Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Jan 28 - Reax to Pres State of the Union

Johanns Statement on President Obama’s Address
U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today issued the following statement on President Obama’s State of the Union Address:

"President Obama talked a lot about creating jobs and expanding the middle class - goals shared by both parties - but actions speak louder than words. The same big-government philosophy of the last five years won’t get us where we need to be. Big brother doesn't create jobs; it creates red tape and debt. We saw it with the so-called stimulus and we've seen it with Obamacare.

“Simply put, the government needs to empower Americans and their employers by getting out of their way. That's how our nation has overcome enormous challenges in the past and it's how we will in the future.

“Our focus should be on lowering taxes, decreasing burdensome government regulations, promoting trade and reducing our nation's debt. This can only be achieved by working together. Advancing a personal agenda through executive fiat ignores the will of the American people, who elect Members of Congress to represent their ideals through the legislative process.   If the President reaches across the aisle and works with us instead of going it alone, we can leave future generations a stronger union."

Smith Disappointed by State of the Union Speech

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) said he was “disappointed” by President Obama’s State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on January 28, 2014.

“Tonight’s speech was an opportunity for President Obama to change course and begin working with members of both parties on an agenda to put America on a better path,” said Smith.  “I am disappointed the President continues to stand by the same tired, government-heavy policies, such as his disastrous health care law, which clearly are failing the American people.

“I am particularly concerned by the President’s plans to bypass Congress through executive actions and new regulations.  In a divided government, no one can expect to get everything they want.  The President should respect, rather than undermine, the checks and balances established by the founders of our nation in the Constitution.”

Corn Growers Respond to State of Union Address in Calling for Action

The following is a statement from National Corn Growers President Martin Barbre on President Barack Obama’s 2014 State of the Union Address:

“It was great to hear President Obama talk about the importance of an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy policy. And you can’t have such a policy without biofuels. So, we call on his Administration to back away from its irresponsible proposal to reduce the Renewable Fuel Standard, a program that has done much to promote energy independence, restore jobs in rural America, and clear the air.

“Likewise, we join the President in calling for a ‘year of action’ – starting with the immediate passage and signing of the 2014 farm bill that just came out of conference committee this week. It will help feed hungry Americans and provide needed stability to American agriculture. And then, Congress can rebuild our sorely outdated waterway infrastructure and move Trade Promotion Authority forward, as the President requested. There's plenty to do in a ‘year of action’ that will help our economy recover.”

ASA Draws Attention to Farm Bill, Infrastructure, Biodiesel and Trade in State of the Union Response

Responding to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address this evening, American Soybean Association President and Iowa farmer Ray Gaesser took the opportunity to highlight several of the association’s priorities and how they compare and contrast with the plans laid out by the President.

“A common theme in tonight’s State of the Union address from the President was the concept of finding ways where Republicans and Democrats can work together; policies and priorities on which the two parties share at least some common ground. We are happy to point out that the President need look no further in that effort than the Agricultural Act of 2014 on which the House of Representatives will vote tomorrow,” said Gaesser. “The farm bill is the product of more than three years of collaborative work between Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Stabenow and Chairman Lucas and Ranking Members Cochran and Peterson, and represents a bipartisan and bicameral step toward legislation that works not only for farmers and rural Americans, but for our suburban and urban neighbors. As we urge the House and Senate to pass the bill, we also urge President Obama to embrace the farm bill as an example of how both parties can work together to benefit all Americans.

“The President also mentioned several plans designed to create jobs and put Americans to work. While the agricultural community and its related industries put more than 23 million Americans to work every day, there are specific initiatives within our industry that can create even more jobs right away. One is the pair of waterways infrastructure bills passed by the House and Senate and currently in conference. These bills provide critical investment in the locks, dams, river channels and ports that farmers need to move their products to market. We thank the President for mentioning these bills specifically. They are in lock step with the Fix it First initiatives he outlined in last year’s State of the Union, and we encourage Congress to move forward with the conference committee and pass a bill on for the President’s signature.

“The second job creator that the soybean industry in particular can contribute is from the burgeoning biodiesel sector. Biodiesel—the majority of which is made from American soybean oil—creates and supports more than 62,000 jobs, and while the President repeatedly cites a desire to pursue his ‘all of the above’ energy strategy, the policies of his administration tell a different story. The EPA has proposed a potentially devastating cut in the amount of renewable, clean-burning, American biodiesel to be produced under the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2014 and 2015. The levels proposed would stifle the growth of biodiesel, a fast-growing industry capable of producing nearly 2 billion gallons annually. If the President is truly committed to all energy options, we encourage him to recognize what soybean farmers already know: biodiesel is a viable and available alternative that helps reduce our dependence on foreign oil, lower greenhouse gas emissions and create jobs.

“Finally, the President has repeatedly emphasized his desire to expand our nation’s trading relationships with both new and existing foreign partners, and tonight he noted our record farm exports in his opening remarks. As our nation’s leading farm export, trade is vital to the success of soybean farmers, and we applaud this emphasis from the President. Trade, and agricultural trade specifically, supports more than a million jobs here at home. Trade agreements, like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, into which Japan is being considered for admission, hold great promise for the soybean industry, and we commend the President for recognizing both in his remarks, but also note that these partnerships function only if they are established in such a way that takes into account the nature of our domestic industry and the modern methods and tools with which we farm.

“We certainly echo the President’s call to work together, but we remind him that the issues championed by soybean farmers, including the farm bill, trade, infrastructure and biodiesel, are ones that require—and thankfully enjoy—bipartisan and bicameral support. American agriculture has always been about all of us; Republicans and Democrats, urban and rural, working together to meet the country’s needs. We call on the President, on the House and on the Senate to mirror that cooperation and work with farmers on these and other key issues in the year to come.”

NFU Responds to State of the Union Address

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s State of the Union address:

“NFU is encouraged by the president’s commitment to our country’s energy future. Passage of the farm bill conference report, with an investment of $900 million in renewable energy, will take the initial step toward reaching the president’s goal. As the president said, ‘climate change is a fact,’ and America’s farmers and ranchers are positioned to be a part of the solution.

“The president placed emphasis on bringing jobs home to America, and ‘Made in the USA’ goods. Family farmers and ranchers, too, are proud of the fruits of their labor, which is why we stand up for consumers by supporting Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL).

“Fair trade is important to family farmers, ranchers and rural communities, and I hope the president changes the United States’ approach to negotiating trade deals. We must deal with systemic issues, such as currency manipulation, and net a strategic goal of reducing our enormous trade deficits, which directly harm U.S. economic growth and kill too many American jobs.

“Immigration reform is critical to farmers and ranchers across the country. I hope Congress takes the president’s sentiments to heart and makes comprehensive immigration reform its next priority. This ought to be a priority for liberals, moderates and conservatives alike, as it will reduce the deficit by $1 trillion dollars in two decades.

“The president’s message tonight is that we are ‘ready for a year of action,’ and passing the farm bill would be a great start. NFU will continue to work with the administration and Congress to ensure that the next farm bill is passed and effectively implemented."

National Grange President says Obama touts willingness to 'overstep' Presidential Authority

National Grange President Edward L. Luttrell, on Tuesday evening, reacted to President Barack Obama's fifth State of the Union Address, saying "this President has overstepped the authority provided to the office by the Constitution, and tonight he presented a platform that runs in many ways in direct opposition to fundamental principles of our democratic republic."

The Grange, America's oldest standing agriculture advocacy organization, has since its founding in 1867 been a nonpartisan voice for rural Americans and farmers.

"The Grange's structure is similar to that established by America's forefathers.  Delegates represent the members of their state and from the concerns of those members and their own conscience, determine our policy, our laws.  The president does not make them but instead carries out the will of the people," Luttrell said. "Maybe Mr. Obama should walk across Pennsylvania Avenue, through Lafayette Square and to our Grange Headquarters to learn what the role of a president is rather than tell lawmakers that he alone will attempt to solve problems without their consent.  Mr. Obama, you are welcome anytime at a Grange meeting - all of which are conducted in nonpartisan fashion and tolerate open debate - where we teach young and old about their role in our democracy, and we would be happy to the roles of citizens and elected officials in our government."

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