Trump’ mentions food stamps, farm bill, emphasizes trade in State of the Union

President Donald Trump’s comments on agriculture, food and rural America are unlikely to make headlines today, but he did mention those subjects and others that affect rural America a few times.

In an almost 90-minute State of the Union speech Tuesday evening, Trump made a few mentions of food and agricultural policy, but emphasized his view on what should happen with trade policy.

In a discussion of the economy and rising wages, Trump said, “Nearly 5 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps,”

Discussing legislative accomplishments, Trump said, “In the last Congress, both parties came together to pass unprecedented legislation to confront the opioid crisis, a sweeping new farm bill, historic VA [Veterans Adminstration] reforms, and after four decades of rejection, we passed VA Accountability so we can finally terminate those who mistreat our wonderful veterans. …”

“We virtually ended the estate, or death, tax on small businesses, ranches, and family farms.“

In other statements related to the rural economy, Trump also said his administration has cut more regulations in a short time than any other administration during its entire tenure, turned the country into “the No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas in the world” and “for the first time in 65 years, we are a net exporter of energy.”

Alluding to the recent federal government shutdown, Trump said, “The Congress has 10 days left to pass a bill that will fund our government, protect our homeland, and secure our southern border.”

On trade, Trump said, “To build on our incredible economic success, one priority is paramount — reversing decades of calamitous trade policies.”

“We are now making it clear to China that after years of targeting our industries, and stealing our intellectual property, the theft of American jobs and wealth has come to an end,” he said.

“Therefore, we recently imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods — and now our treasury is receiving billions of dollars a month from a country that never gave us a dime. But I don’t blame China for taking advantage of us — I blame our leaders and representatives for allowing this travesty to happen. I have great respect for President Xi, and we are now working on a new trade deal with China. But it must include real, structural change to end unfair trade practices, reduce our chronic trade deficit, and protect American jobs.

“Another historic trade blunder was the catastrophe known as NAFTA,” Trump said.

“I have met the men and women of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Hampshire, and many other states whose dreams were shattered by NAFTA. For years, politicians promised them they would negotiate for a better deal. But no one ever tried — until now.

“Our new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement — or USMCA — will replace NAFTA and deliver for American workers: bringing back our manufacturing jobs, expanding American agriculture, protecting intellectual property, and ensuring that more cars are proudly stamped with four beautiful words: made in the USA.

“Tonight, I am also asking you to pass the United States Reciprocal Trade Act, so that if another country places an unfair tariff on an American product, we can charge them the exact same tariff on the same product that they sell to us.”

On infrastructure, Trump said, “Both parties should be able to unite for a great rebuilding of America’s crumbling infrastructure.

“I know that the Congress is eager to pass an infrastructure bill — and I am eager to work with you on legislation to deliver new and important infrastructure investment, including investments in the cutting edge industries of the future. This is not an option. This is a necessity.”

–The Hagstrom Report