While President Biden Highlights Rural Investments, Trump and MAGA Republicans Abandoned Rural Communities
November 1, 2023
President Biden is in Minnesota today kicking off his administration’s Investing in Rural America tour to promote his Investing in America agenda that is supporting rural prosperity across the country. Meanwhile, Donald Trump and other 2024 MAGA Republicans have yearslong records of gutting support for farmers and ranchers and leaving rural American communities behind.
President Biden is promoting his administration’s efforts to support rural communities, including through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the American Rescue Plan.
NBC News: “Biden heads to Minnesota to tout the impact of ‘Bidenomics’ on rural communities”
Politico: “The Inflation Reduction Act, Democrats’ marquee climate change law, poured nearly $40 billion into rural clean electricity projects, climate-smart agriculture, support for indebted farmers and efforts to prevent wildfires. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will rebuild thousands of miles of crumbling rural roads, bridges and waterways, while spending tens of billions building out broadband access for millions without high-speed access. And the American Rescue Plan bailed out rural hospitals stretched thin by the pandemic, while pouring hundreds of millions into expanding small and local meat processing plants — an industry dominated by large corporate interests.
“In other words, Biden and Democrats have rained money on rural America.”
Rural communities repeatedly suffered under Donald Trump’s extreme MAGA agenda that sought to gut support for farmers and ranchers who struggled through a multiyear slump in the U.S. farm economy under his watch.
Politico: “Trump’s new budget: Ag on the chopping block”
“The blueprint also would cut $57.7 billion in mandatory agricultural spending by 2030, like lowering crop insurance subsidies, tightening eligibility for farm payments and gashing conservation programs — similar to Trump’s previous budget requests.”
Wall Street Journal: “A Trump administration proposal to cut Agriculture Department funding by 15% drew consternation from growers and ranchers who are struggling through a multiyear slump in the U.S. farm economy.”
Washington Post: “The Trump administration is seeking to cut the Department of Agriculture’s discretionary budget by $3.5 billion, or 15 percent, while also slashing by $17 billion the funds available to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps). The budget would also reduce federal crop insurance subsidies and cut spending for conservation programs and foreign food aid.”
Reuters: “U.S. farm groups on Tuesday pushed back against President Donald Trump’s proposal to slash agriculture spending, viewing it as a fresh threat to a struggling farm economy. The White House on Monday proposed $46.54 billion in cuts to federal government funding for the agriculture sector over the next 10 years, including limits on federal subsidies for crop insurance premiums.”
Farm bankruptcies soared to record highs thanks to Trump’s reckless leadership that prioritized giant corporations and the ultra-wealthy over hardworking farmers.
Bloomberg: “U.S. Farm Bankruptcies Surge 24% on Strain From Trump Trade War”
HuffPost: “Farm Bankruptcies Soared 20% Amid Trump Trade War. It’s The Highest Rate In 8 Years.”
Farm Bureau: “What a difference a year can make. After a near-record number of Chapter 12 farm bankruptcy filings in 2020, according to data from the U.S. Courts, Chapter 12 bankruptcy filings were down an incredible 50% in 2021. The number of Chapter 12 filings in 2021 is the lowest in the last decade and this is the first time in at least 10 years that there were fewer than 300 filings.”
Financial Times: “Farmers were already frustrated by the decline in soyabean, sorghum, ethanol and corn-based livestock feed exports as a result of the US trade war with China. In north-west Iowa’s fourth congressional district, goods exports to China fell by $558m in 2018 because of higher tariffs, the most of any district in the country, according to the US-China Business Council.”
Trump blocked protections that would have made it easier for smaller meat producers and livestock farmers to sue big meatpackers over unfair business practices.
Bloomberg: “Trump Chooses Big Meat Over Little Farmers”
Politico: “Farmers who hoped President Donald Trump would side with them over meatpacking conglomerates were dealt a blow after the Agriculture Department proposed changing rules governing fair competition in the industry.”
Year after year, Trump called for cuts to programs that seek to combat poverty and create jobs in rural areas.
Washington Post: “Trump’s budget aims to cut spending on safety-net programs such as Medicaid and food stamps, cutting food stamp spending by $181 billion over a decade.”
CBS News: “The Trump administration is moving to curb access to food stamps, with U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue last week criticizing the 80-year-old federal program as becoming a ‘way of life’ for too many Americans. To that end, the government has introduced three proposals that would cut about 2.2 million U.S. households, or almost 4 million people, from the program, while also reducing benefits for another 3.1 million households, according to a recent analysis from the Urban Institute.”
Trump’s attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, gut Medicaid, and cut other crucial health programs would have disproportionately harmed rural communities.
Wall Street Journal: “GOP Health Plan Would Hit Rural Areas Hard”
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “House-Passed Bill Would Devastate Health Care in Rural America”
CNN: “Cuts threaten rural hospitals ‘hanging on by their fingernails’”
Kaiser Health News: “Crippling Medicaid Cuts Could Upend Rural Health Services”
The Hill: “Trump abortion rule could hit rural communities hard”
Trump left rural Americans behind with his extreme infrastructure proposal, and he tried to cut funding for key rural infrastructure programs.
Washington Post: “Trump’s plan to tap private investors for infrastructure funds worries senators from rural states”
CNET: “Trump infrastructure plan leaves out rural broadband funding”
Washington Post: “The reality, however, is that investors expect a return for their money, and very few projects promise to make money. The most common way to profit is through tolling roads or bridges. But while tolling could work in high-volume urban settings, investors are not going to flock to build roads and bridges in vast stretches of rural America.”
Ron DeSantis has opposed crucial agricultural and economic aid to rural communities throughout his political career, including refusing to push for Medicaid expansion in Florida and axing money from a budget that would have gone to farmers as part of a rural conservation program.
HuffPost: “But the cause [of Medicaid expansion] has been a tough sell in Tallahassee, where Republicans have had nearly uninterrupted control of the Florida’s lawmaking process since 1999. Two previous efforts to get expansion through the state legislature failed. DeSantis’ spokesperson confirmed in 2021 that he remained opposed to it.”
WLRN: “Agricultural industry left ‘perplexed’ over DeSantis’ $100m conservation veto”
Nikki Haley consistently rejected support for rural South Carolinians, including vetoing crucial disaster relief for farmers affected by severe flooding.
Post and Courier: “Veto may mean hardships for S.C. farms Growers urged to ask lawmakers to override Haley’s plan to deny $40M flood ‘bailout’”
Associated Press: “Governor Nikki Haley has vetoed a bill that would send $40 million in aid to South Carolina farmers. Haley called farmers a vocal industry who asked for more tax dollars to bail them out in her veto message Monday. The governor says farmers have plenty of options to pay for most of their losses and they shouldn’t get aid that was not available to all small businesses. … Hundreds of farmers have rallied at the Statehouse, saying federal aid was not enough to pay for the massive damage from October’s catastrophic floods. The deluge came after several months of drought wiped out another round of crops.”
CBS News: “As more Republicans give in, an opposition bloc remains across the South, including from governors who lead some of the nation’s poorest and unhealthiest states. ‘Not in South Carolina,’ Gov. Nikki Haley declared at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference. ‘We will not expand Medicaid on President Obama’s watch. We will not expand Medicaid ever.’”
Tim Scott has a long history of opposing aid for rural farmers, families, and communities.
2021: Scott voted against President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that is investing in critical rural infrastructure.