6 Ag issues and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s take on them
In the second installment of the Tri-State Livestock News’ presidential candidate features, we take a look at Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s views on agriculture.
Following Clinton’s recent win in the Iowa and Nevada caucuses, here’s what you need to know about Clinton’s take on key issues that would impact agriculture down the road:
1. Rural communities and small business
Clinton has spoken out on how she plans to strengthen rural economies by investing in infrastructure and expanding access to credit and venture capital. Her plans include raising agricultural production and profitability for family farms while promoting a collaborate stewardship toward clean energy use.
“I believe a strong America depends on strong rural communities. For prosperity to be real and lasting, it has to take root… in small towns and in rural areas across the country,” said Clinton in a speech she gave in Iowa on Aug. 26, 2015.
Crediting the nation’s farmers and ranchers for their $800 billion industry, which is a large economic driver in the U.S., Clinton says she will increase funding to support the next generation of farmers and ranchers, invest in expanding local food markets and regional food systems, and provide a focused safety net to assist family operations that truly need support during challenging times.
2. Clean energy
A proponent of clean energy as a method to address her concerns about climate change, if elected, Clinton plans to generate enough renewable energy to power every home in America, with 500,000 solar panels installed by the end of her first term. On her website, http://www.hillaryclinton.com, she vows to reduce American oil consumption by one-third through the use of cleaner fuels and more efficient cars, boilers, ships and trucks.
“I won’t let anyone take us backward, deny our economy the benefits of harnessing a clean energy future, or force our children to endure the catastrophe that would result from unchecked climate change,” said Clinton, in a speech Nov. 29, 2015.
Additionally, she plans to “defend, implement, and extend smart pollution and efficiency standards,” including the Clean Power Plan, as well as launch a $60 billion Clean Energy Challenge to partner with states, cities, and rural communities and give them the tools and resources they need to go beyond federal standards in cutting carbon pollution and expanding clean energy.
3. Leasing on public lands
As president, Hillary would reform leasing on public lands. She plans to change the rules surrounding fossil fuel leasing and significantly expand clean energy production on public lands, from wind in Wyoming to solar in Nevada.
According to the Clinton camp, “Building a 21st century clean energy economy will create new jobs and industries, protect public health, and reduce carbon pollution. Hillary’s $30 billion plan to revitalize coal communities will ensure coal miners, power plant operators, transportation workers, and their families get the respect they deserve and the benefits they have earned; invest in economic diversification and job creation; and make coal communities an engine of US economic growth in the 21st century, as they have been for generations.”
4. Crop insurance, drought assistance & Renewable Fuel Standard
“As president, I’ll make sure that federal resources like disaster assistance and crop insurance go to farmers and ranches who need it the most, not those who have the biggest businesses or the best connections. We will change the formula,” said Clinton.
She also plans to fully fund a program that provides assistance to producers who conserve and improve natural resources on their farms, strengthen the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), and double loan guarantees that support the bio-based economy’s dynamic growth.
“The RFS can continue to be a powerful tool to spur the development of advanced biofuels and expand the overall contribution that renewable fuels make to our national fuel supply,” said Clinton. “But we also can’t ignore significant changes to the energy landscape since the RFS was expanded in 2007. We have to get the RFS back on track in a way that provides investors with the certainty they need, protects consumers, improves access to E15, E85, and biodiesel blends, and effectively drives the development of cellulosic and other advanced biofuels.”
In a Politico Morning Agriculture article written following Clinton’s speech in Iowa, reporter Jenny Hopkinson writes, “While Clinton said she wants to ‘strengthen the Renewable Fuel Standard,’ the focus of her plan seems to be largely on cellulosic and advanced biofuels, not corn-based ethanol. In her speech, she didn’t utter the word ‘ethanol.’”
4. Immigration reform
Clinton’s record indicates a strong support for naturalization of immigrants who are seeking citizenship. As senator, she was a strong supporter of comprehensive immigration reform, cosponsoring Senator Ted Kennedy’s 2004 bill and supporting the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act in 2006 and 2007. She cosponsored the DREAM Act in the Senate in 2003, 2005, and 2007 to give undocumented students who grew up in the U.S. a chance to contribute to the nation’s growth.
She promises to end family detention, close private immigrant detention centers, expand access to affordable health care to families regardless of citizenship status, and defend President Obama’s DACA and DAPA executive actions, which protect 5 million people from deportation.
Clinton’s Iowa speech last August was just two days before the controversial Clean Water Rule was set to go into effect and Hopkinson writes, “Clinton was mum on the issue. Her plan does include support for some conservation programs, but she also failed to weigh in on the lawsuit from the Des Moines water utility challenging upstream farm runoff that is causing increased treatment costs.”
6. Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
Clinton opposes the TPP, said that pharmaceutical companies would unfairly gain from the trade agreement at the expense of consumers.
“I have said from the very beginning that we had to have a trade agreement that would create good American jobs, raise wages and advance our national security,” said Clinton. “I still believe that’s the high bar we have to meet.
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