WASHINGTON, February 2, 2015 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today made the following statement on the proposed Fiscal Year 2016 budget:
"President Obama's 2016 Budget is designed to bring middle class economics into the 21st century. The budget proposal achieves reforms and results for the American taxpayer, modernizes critical infrastructure, supports the research and innovation required to build resilience in the face of a changing climate, and creates a pathway towards continued growth and prosperity in rural America.
"The budget continues to fund programs that, since 2009, have helped more than 900,000 families buy or refinance a home; improved or constructed more than 158,000 miles of electric line; brought clean drinking water and better waste water management to 15.7 million rural residents; and provided grants and loans to assist more than 89,000 rural businesses, creating or saving more than 418,000 jobs. Collectively, these investments support stable communities and create jobs in rural America.
"To empower hardworking Americans as they transition out of nutrition assistance programs, we have invested in programs that build the skills they need to get a good paying job while increasing access to fresh, healthy foods as they work towards self-sufficiency. The budget also supports programs that give children the nutrition they need to learn and grow, including expanded resources to promote the use of MyPlate and help schools upgrade outdated kitchen equipment as they continue to provide healthy school meals with more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy, and less sodium and fat. The budget also continues efforts to increase breastfeeding rates among low-income women.
"The 2016 budget fosters innovation and advances technologies that address climate change vulnerability, improve pollinator health, combat antimicrobial resistance, encourage the development of renewable energy, and support the efficiency, sustainability and profitability of America's farmers and ranchers, particularly those just starting out.
"The budget again proposes a new approach to wildland fire suppression. It will treat severe wildfires like other natural disasters that can draw on emergency funding, rather than raiding other critical programs, like forest restoration and management, research and other activities that help manage our forests and reduce future catastrophic wildfire.
"USDA's Blueprint for Stronger Service has saved the American taxpayer a total of $1.368 billion while ensuring that taxpayers receive the best possible service. The budget builds off those efforts by strengthening program integrity and increasing resources to support USDA's aggressive actions to root out waste, fraud and abuse. It proposes the consolidation of certain programs in order to cut costs while improving their effectiveness.
"The 2016 budget, along with programs authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, is a strong investment in the men and women living, working and raising families in rural America. Building on the successes of the past six years, the budget supports rural communities that are more innovative, competitive and resilient in the long run, which benefits every American, no matter where they live."
For more information, please read the Fiscal Year 2016 budget factsheet (PDF, 170 KB).
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