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How is bipartisanship faring in our nation’s capital?
Well, Republicans and Democrats appear to agree that something needs fixing in rural America.
“Families, small businesses, and farmers in rural areas are struggling,” says House Republican Leader John Boehner (R) from Ohio.
“Our rural communities are suffering during these tough economic times,” says Arkansas Sen. Blanch Lincoln (D).
But so far that’s where the agreement appears to end. Last week House Republicans announced a new group composed of 15 Republican House members that will address rural issues. The Rural America Solutions Group will “focus on solutions that create jobs and economic opportunities as well as address the unique challenges rural communities face,” according to a press release.
The group is taking President Obama to task for failing to deliver on a campaign promise to hold a rural issues summit in the first 100 days of his administration.
On the other side of the aisle (and the other side of the legislative branch) Democratic senators last month released a rural issues platform. The platform, called the “Senate Democratic Caucus’ Rural Agenda,” mentions health care, education, economic development, agriculture, and energy, among other topics. This effort was announced by Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, who is chairperson of the caucus’ rural outreach.