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Congressional Rhetoric Runs into Reality on ‘Dust Rule’

Posted by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in USDA Results
Dec 13, 2011

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) constantly battles false and misleading information about its rules and regulations.  No better example exists than the myth that EPA proposed to “regulate” dust on farm fields.  Simply not true! EPA is not now, nor has it ever proposed regulating dust.

The House of Representatives sought to perpetuate this myth when it passed legislation to stop the EPA from tightening national standards for coarse particles—or dust.  The Obama Administration has repeatedly explained it has no intention of doing any such thing, raising the legitimate question of why the House spent time debating a non-issue.

In fact, this Administration remains committed to preserving the competitiveness of every economic sector and to commonsense approaches to improving air quality across the country.  The Administration’s efforts over the past three years to listen to and work with America’s farmers are helping them enjoy some of the best incomes they have seen in decades.

The truth is, during this Administration, U.S. agriculture has accounted for 1 in 12 American jobs, provided American consumers with 86% of the food we consume, ensured that Americans spend less of their paychecks at the grocery store than most other countries, sustained year-over-year trade surpluses, and helped to support homegrown renewable energy markets.

Rather than solving a non-problem, Congress could work to extend the payroll tax cut for millions of Americans across the nation. If Congress fails to extend the current payroll tax cut, taxes will go up on millions of people at a time when families are struggling to make ends meet. That’s unacceptable, as a typical household earning $50,000 a year will see their taxes increase by $1,000. But if Congress passes the proposal laid out by President Obama, the typical family earning $50,000 a year would see that tax cut continued, and receive more than $500 additionally—for a total tax cut of $1,500. It makes no sense to raise taxes on the middle class at a time when so many are still trying to get back on their feet.

America prospers when we're all in it together; when hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded; when everyone, from Main Street to Wall Street, does their fair share and plays by the same rules. It will take time to rebuild an economy where hard work is valued and responsibility is rewarded. It will take time to rebuild an economy that restores security for the middle class and renews opportunity for folks trying to reach the middle class. So let’s not waste our valuable time engaging in false debates.  Helping the middle class is work that can’t wait.

Category/Topic: USDA Results