2012: Where the Parties Stand
This plank recognized the need for major investment in the nation's infrastructure—roads, bridges, airports, ports and water systems—and for reform to speed approval of infrastructure projects. At the same time, it recognized that "securing sufficient funding for the Highway Trust Fund remains a challenge given the debt and deficits and need to reduce spending."
Of special interest to agriculture was a call for the restoration of presidential Trade Promotion Authority, ensuring up or down votes in Congress on any new trade agreement. It also endorsed completion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other multi-lateral agreements.
This plank called for tapping all cost-effective energy resources on-shore and off, traditional and alternative, and completion of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
ENVIRONMENT, CONSERVATION AND THE EPA:
These planks called for full transparency in development of data and modeling for environmental regulations, science-based cost and benefit analysis and restoring the authority of the states in environmental protection. They also call for review of public land holdings for possible privatization.
A separate plank called for reform and restrictions on the EPA and its involvement in court actions to expand EPA's regulatory activities, full transparency and notification of affected parties in advance of litigation, an end to "unwarranted revocation of existing permits" and prohibition on development of greenhouse gas regulations.
DEMOCRATIC PLATFORM AND AGRICULTURE
Barack Obama The Democratic attention to agriculture was much more condensed than that of the Republicans. As befits the incumbent party, much time and space was spent reviewing efforts of the past four years. Looking ahead, this section called for strengthening the rural water, sewer and broadband infrastructure as well as the ag safety net by renewing crop disaster relief, strengthening crop insurance and creating a permanent disaster relief program. It also endorsed a call for increased funding of research and development to improve agricultural productivity and global food security.
Other sections of the platform, which addressed issues of interest to farmers and rural America, included the following:
This platform plank called for extending tax cuts for the first $250,000 in income with expiration of Bush tax cuts for incomes above that amount, reforming the tax code to expire and close loopholes and deductions for the "largest corporations and highest earning taxpayers." The plank called for reform to the corporate tax code to lower tax rates for companies in the U.S., with added relief for those creating domestic jobs in manufacturing, research and development, while reducing incentives for corporations to shift jobs overseas.