Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Klobuchar and Warren release rural policy plans; Mass. senator calls for breaking up biggest agribusinesses

Democratic presidential hopefuls Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar now have rural policy plans.

Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar's, which she is pitching to voters on a tour of Iowa this week, aims to preserve emergency and outpatient services at rural hospitals by creating a new Rural Emergency Hospital classification. She would also review all tariffs and create a national rural export strategy, expand rural child-care assistance, promote renewable energy and biodiesel programs, Ali Vitali and Amanda Golden report for NBC News.

The Minnesota senator wants to expand support systems for family-owned farms, including federal crop-insurance programs, and increase the Farm Service Agency's maximum loan amount. "She’ll also increase the size of the FSA’s loan portfolio to make sure more farmers can access it, and offer a new tax credit to farmers that help beginning farmers get in business – be it by selling land or equipment to them," Vitali and Golden report.

The plan also includes a hefty broadband expansion plan, as well as investment in other infrastructure like bridges, highways, airports, and railroads. It aims to expand housing, health care and transportation access for rural veterans and seniors. Klobuchar also vows to fight discrimination in communities of color and partner with rural Native American tribes. "Klobuchar’s campaign did not release an estimate" of the plan's cost, Vitali and Golden report.

Elizabeth Warren
Warren's plan includes an unusual plank: breaking up the biggest agribusinesses to give family farmers a better shot. In a Medium post, she mentions the problems with contract chicken farming as an example. "The senator, who has criticized corporations throughout her presidential campaign, said her proposal would reverse anti-competitive mergers in agribusiness, as well as moving away from farm subsidies, toward guaranteeing farmers prices at their cost of production," Julia Manchester reports for The Hill.

Warren, of Massachusetts, also vows to fight to give farmers the ability to repair their own farming equipment with a national "right to repair" law. "Warren also addresses the issue of climate change in her proposal, pledging to lead an effort to decarbonize the agriculture sector in order to reach the goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2030," Manchester reports.

The plan also looks to "improve education, internet service, affordable housing, the opioid crisis and corporate responsibility in rural communities across the country," Manchester writes. It has $85 billion for rural broadband buildout.

The Rural Blog reports major statements by presidential candidates about rural policy.

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