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Agricultural News

President Tells Congress to Approve Korean Trade Pact- But Doesn't Offer Timeline on When It Will be Sent to Capitol Hill

Wed, 26 Jan 2011 6:35:13 CST

President Tells Congress to Approve Korean Trade Pact- But Doesn't Offer Timeline on When It Will be Sent to Capitol Hill President Obama focused on the economy, jobs and the deficit and how he plans to address them Tuesday evening in his annual State of the Union speech. He also touched on trade and called on the Congress to pass the revised US-South Korean Trade agreement. However, the President did not offer a timeline as to when his Administration would transmit that agreement to the Hill. He also seemed to indicate that he wants to redo the agreements with Panama and Columbia before moving them forward. All three of these agreements were finalized by the Bush Administration almost three years ago.

Mr. Obama recommended a five-year freeze on domestic spending to reduce the budget deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade. GOP congressional leaders interviewed later labeled the proposal modest and signaled their intention to enact deeper cuts.

Farm lobbyists contacted after the speech expressed hope that Washington would remember that agriculture outlays were reduced last year by 6-billion dollars over ten years, with two-thirds of the savings earmarked for deficit reduction.

Groups that are supportive of biofuels applauded the Obama call for more clean energy in the United States. "The 25x'25 Alliance commends President Obama for his foresight and the prominence he has given to the goal of producing 80 percent or America's electricity with clean energy by 2035," said Read Smith, co-chairman of the alliance's national steering committee. "With the vision of meeting 25 percent of our nation's total energy needs with renewables from the land, the 25x'25 Alliance believes that America's farms, ranches and forestlands can provide the renewable energy that can help meet the president's ambitious target."

A staunch support of President Obama, President Roger Johnson of the National Farmers Union, also issued a statement of praise for what he heard on Tuesday evening.

"Tonight the president called for a spark in the creativity and imagination of our people, calling it our generation's Sputnik. American farmers and ranchers are also among our most creative when given a challenge. When given a goal for energy security and independence, they have and will continue to provide creative and renewable solutions such as biofuels, wind power and solar energy. We can win the clean energy race. Agriculture can help lead the way for the United States to meet the goal 80 percent of America's electricity coming from clean energy sources by 2035.

"NFU was founded on the notion of the importance of bringing the same opportunities to rural parts of the country as those in more densely populated places. Access to broadband for rural Americans today is just as important as electricity and telephones were in the past.

Click on the LISTEN BAR below for an audio overview of the State of the Union Address from an agricultural perspective.


Ron Hays offers an overview of President Obama's State of the Union Address on January 25, 2011
right-click to download mp3


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