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Policy: Law

Obama goes to bat for farm bill in Michigan

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Politics,White House,Brian Hughes,Barack Obama,Agriculture,PennAve,Economy,Farm Bill,Michigan,Law

President Obama signed a long-term farm bill in Michigan on Friday, praising the bipartisan legislation as a “good sign” for future dealmaking in Washington.

Obama framed the signing of the $100-million-a-year bill as proof that leaders could put aside constant bickering to get big-ticket items done.

“Let's keep the momentum going here,” he said at Michigan State University, alluding to other legislative measures to jump-start the economy.

Still, Obama trumpeted a series of executive actions taken following this year's State of the Union address, which he said were necessary in the face of Congressional intransigence. The president pointed to the implementation of new retirement savings account for workers and better access to high-speed Internet for workers -- but those modest measures are dwarfed by legislation such as the farm bill.

On the agricultural law, Obama said that it would make a “big difference in communities all across this country.”

“Too many rural Americans are still struggling,” the president said, striking a populist note similar to the one he used in his State of the Union address.

“I've seen how hard it can be to be a farmer,” he added.

After more than two years of negotiations, lawmakers this week finally passed the farm bill, typically a routine vote on Capitol Hill.

Some Republicans relented after lawmakers agreed to shave $800 million a year from the food stamp program. The massive piece of legislation is also full of agricultural subsidies, which were included to win over individual members of Congress.

And the president couldn't resist a few farming puns while championing the bill.

"When I was in college, I lived in a pig sty,” Obama quipped. “Your hygiene improves as you get older."

The president also compared the farm bill to Major League Baseball player Mike Trout because it "has a lot of tools."

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Brian Hughes

White House Correspondent
The Washington Examiner