Vilsack: USDA programs boost economy
- Congress Daily
- January 22, 2010
In a signal that the Obama Cabinet is turning its focus toward jobs, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Friday told the U.S. Conference of Mayors the economic stimulus package is a jobs generator and expanded on the theme in comments afterward, saying he will be "happy to talk to people about it" on the campaign trail this fall.
In his speech, Vilsack called the increase in supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits "an economic driver" that helps truckers, grocery stores and farmers. Those benefits, which used to be known as food stamps, have gotten the most funding of any USDA program.
Vilsack also cited increased funding to bring high-speed Internet service to rural America; accelerated implementation of the energy title of the farm bill; and USDA investments in small, local processing and slaughtering plants for "creating a framework for a 21st century America."
Vilsack said the Obama administration wants to use the upcoming reauthorization of child nutrition programs to expand school breakfast and summer and after-school meals as well as improve the quality of food served in school lunches.