Statement by Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation, Regarding the President’s State of the Union Address
WASHINGTON – “The president this evening held out a glimmer of hope that he and the Republican Congress might still work together. His words were reassuring, yet recent history has been anything but. So many good things can be accomplished, so once again, we ask leaders of both parties: Please work together.
“We strongly support President Obama’s efforts to normalize trade and other relations with Cuba. Cuba remains off-limits to almost all American trade – a self-imposed tactic that has repeatedly failed to secure reforms. American agriculture needs the same access to Cuban markets that so many other countries have. Easing trade financing restrictions is a strong beginning to U.S. food and fiber being accessible to Cuba’s 11 million consumers. It’s also something most Americans know is right.
“Farm Bureau is also encouraged by the president’s strong support for Trade Promotion Authority, which would give Congress the responsibly to vote yes or no on foreign-trade treaties without deal-killing amendments. Congress must pass bi-partisan TPA legislation to strengthen U.S. negotiating positions in future trade agreements.
“We remain resolute that tax laws must protect the family farm. Our members grow America’s food and fiber for rates of return that are already miniscule compared to almost any other investment they could make. We need to continue to have tax policies that do not punish capital-intensive businesses like farms and ranches, and that do not hinder sons and daughters from following the agricultural legacy of their parents.
“America needs to move forward. We can do that only when both parties do what our founders did when they wrote the Constitution: compromise.”