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american jobs act

“We Can’t Wait” to Improve Infrastructure

Today, the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced critical investments in our nation’s infrastructure. Specifically, 46 transportation projects in 33 states and Puerto Rico will receive funding that will help support local communities and drive a nation-wide economic recovery.  These grants are steps this Administration is taking now to create jobs, repair our crumbling transportation systems, and make sure our economy continues to grow.

At USDA we are particularly excited about the announcement because $150 million will go to critical projects in rural areas. These investments will help boost economic development and make rural communities more attractive for businesses. Especially in rural areas, our transportation systems have gone too long without repair.  By improving our bridges, transit, freight, and ports, we’ll support agriculture jobs and make trucking of goods faster and more efficient for our farmers and ranchers.

A Day to Honor Our Heroes

Cross posted from the White House blog.

This Friday, as on Veterans Days past, we stand with the men and women who have served this nation in uniform and commemorate their achievements. As preparations are made for a week of USDA events and celebrations, I am reminded of the everyday courage and strength these men and women display, and without whom our great country would not be what it is today. While we can never fully repay our debt of gratitude to the service members who have been wounded and died while protecting our country, we should take time to recognize the more than 20 million living American veterans and offer special thanks to them for all they’ve done for us throughout the years.

Georgia On My Mind

Cross-posted from the White House blog

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan

Last fall, the President asked that senior Obama administration officials travel the country to hold a series of roundtables on behalf of the White House Rural Council.  On November 2nd, I joined a roundtable with local farmers, ranchers, and area business leaders at the Athens Technical College in Athens, Ga. If you aren’t familiar with Athens, Ga. the locals are glad to inform you that it is a hotbed of rock n roll and the launching grounds for acts such as the B52s, R.E.M., and Widespread Panic.

Secretary's Column: Honoring our Veterans

We are approaching Veterans Day, a time to honor the men and women who have served this nation in uniform.  Whether they are soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen or coastguardsmen – our veterans were part of the finest military the world has ever known.  Their selfless and courageous contributions over generations have helped Americans enjoy the freedom and liberty our founders imagined.

And USDA – through our work in rural America and on a host of other issues – has a strong connection with those who have served.  Today, about 6.1 million veterans live in rural communities, a higher concentration than anywhere else in the country.

Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure

Cross posted from the White House blog

For generations, our nation’s leaders have invested in the infrastructure that made our nation a superpower. That is why President Obama proposed investments in infrastructure in the American Jobs Act to create construction jobs today rebuilding America’s roadways, railways, transit systems, schools and airports.  And examples of these sorts of projects are taking place across the county.

For the folks in Beaufort County, South Carolina, their vision was to build an educational hub that held both cultural and historical meaning for their community on St. Helena Island.   Tomorrow, their vision becomes a reality with the groundbreaking for the St. Helena Library.

White House Rural Council Feedback Report

Cross posted from the White House Blog

Since the establishment of the White House Rural Council in June, President Barack Obama, a number of senior Administration officials and I met with folks throughout the country to better understand the challenges and opportunities facing rural America. By hosting the White House Rural Economic Forum in Peosta, Iowa, as part of the President’s three-day Bus Tour in August, in addition to nearly 200 roundtable discussions with business and agricultural leaders in rural communities, we learned what rural Americans think are the most important issues to ensure that their future is bright and prosperous.

American Jobs Act - West Coast Roundup

This past week, I traveled to the West Coast to connect with local leaders about President Barack Obama’s American Jobs Act, which will put Americans to work and get our economy back on track – all without adding a dime to the deficit.  It was a rewarding experience meeting the great people of California, Oregon and Washington, and it was apparent that they are ready to see the economy flourish again and believe this Act will get us there.

Moving Forward in the Pacific Northwest

I recently had the privilege of accompanying Secretary Vilsack at one of a series of White House Business Roundtables in Portland, Oregon. There, I met a diverse group of men and women representing a variety of business interests including food production, building construction, banking, equipment manufacturing, and renewable energy.  As part of the discussion, Secretary Vilsack shared the framework for the American Jobs Act – employing people now, building a platform for sustainable growth, and getting our fiscal house in order.   

Secretary Vilsack Goes West

USDA Secretary Vilsack had a busy Monday in California, making six stops to hold a business leader’s roundtable, promote the American Jobs Act, encourage Americans to “Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables,” meet with California agricultural commodity leaders and to drop in at the USDA state office in Davis for a visit with employees. He kicked off his day in California’s Central Valley by conducting a White House Business Council breakfast meeting with state and local business leaders. There, the Secretary heard directly from business leaders about their ideas to grow the economy.