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Saturday, June 3, 2017

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Fights Budget Cuts to Rural Development in Wisconsin

WASHINGTON, D.C.Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) sent a letter to President Trump expressing strong objections to proposed budget cuts to investments in rural Wisconsin. 

Last week, President Trump issued a budget proposal calling for drastic cuts that would undermine the important rural development mission at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). These damaging cuts come on the heels of recently announced plans to eliminate the USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development, an important advocate for small towns and rural communities across the country.

In Wisconsin, USDA Rural Development invested $556,267,665 in over 8,500 projects in 2016. This includes $28.9 million invested in Wisconsin rural businesses to retain local jobs, increase production, spur new business growth and more. It also includes $18.4 million of investments in rural community facilities like police and fire stations and $152.4 million invested in 27 infrastructure projects like clean drinking water system upgrades.

In the letter, Senator Baldwin and 28 fellow Senators objected to the proposed cuts, and urged President Trump to maintain the Under Secretary for Rural Development.

“Small towns and rural communities embody many of our nation’s greatest strengths, and the people of these communities deserve every opportunity to raise their families with well-paying jobs and a high quality of life,” wrote the Senators. “Our small towns and rural communities, however, experience unique challenges in developing and maintaining infrastructure and providing high-quality health services and education. Understanding and responding to these unique challenges to help these communities create jobs and drive economic growth is the principal mission of USDA Rural Development.”

The letter was also signed by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Gary Peters (D-MI), Al Franken (D-MN), Jon Tester (D-MT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chris Coons (D-DE), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Angus King (I-ME), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

The full text of the letter is below. A PDF of the letter is available here.


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