NFU: During First Joint Address to Congress, Biden Highlights Pandemic Recovery, Priorities for Future
During his first joint address to Congress, President Joe Biden struck an optimistic tone, highlighting the progress the United States has made on pandemic recovery and laying out his priorities for the months and years ahead.
Job creation and poverty relief were among the most common themes throughout the address; to build on improvements already made since his inauguration, President Biden introduced the American Families Plan, a comprehensive package that would invest $1.8 trillion in education, childcare, nutrition, and paid leave. National Farmers Union (NFU) President Rob Larew commended provisions that would expand free school meals and summer EBT on the grounds that it would reinforce “our safety net. . . so that it can accommodate all Americans experiencing food insecurity.”
To offset the cost of the plan, President Biden is proposing an array of tax reforms, including the elimination of stepped-up basis. In an overview, the White House promised that such a change would “be designed with protections so that family-owned businesses and farms will not have to pay taxes when given to heirs who continue to run the business.”
President Biden also plans to use climate action to drive job growth. Included on the president’s list of recommendations was “farmers planting cover crops, so they can reduce carbon dioxide in the air and get paid for doing it,” an approach backed by NFU and many other farm groups. Larew said he was “glad to have an ally in the White House” and that he hoped that the statement would be followed by “immediate and aggressive action.”
Another focus of the address was immigration reform. “For more than 30 years, politicians have talked about immigration reform and have done nothing about it,” said President Biden. “It’s time to fix it.” He urged Congress to offer undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship by passing his U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021. Under the bill, farm workers would be fast-tracked for naturalization and would be granted greater protections, both of which NFU supports.
National Farmers Union advocates on behalf of nearly 200,000 American farm families and their communities. We envision a world in which farm families and their communities are respected, valued, and enjoy economic prosperity and social justice.