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Read the candidates' positions

Read the candidates' positions See where confirmed 2016 presidential candidates stand on key national issues for farmers and all Iowans.
See where confirmed 2016 presidential candidates stand on key national issues for farmers and all Iowans. All announced candidates have been asked to complete the survey. We will update this page as candidates return their responses.

Click on the questions to reveal the candidates' responses.

Budget

1. Should government spending be reduced to balance the budget?

In order to protect the future integrity of our nation's economy, it is in our best interest to address budget deficits which erode our ability to remain fiscally stable. Farm Bureau supports a Constitutional Amendment requiring a balanced federal budget with spending restraint prioritized.

Mike Huckabee: Yes.

Jeb Bush: Yes. The Obama Administration’s unwillingness to restrain spending has put the country on an unsustainable fiscal path. As President, I will balance the budget by restraining government spending while prioritizing key government services like defense.

Donald Trump: Yes.

Carly Fiorina: Yes.

Ted Cruz: Yes.

Marco Rubio: Yes. I support cutting wasteful spending to balance the budget, but we also need pro-growth policies that reduce our debt through economic growth.

Rick Santorum: Yes. Cutting spending is critical to balancing the budget and paying down our national debt. I support a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution capping government spending at 18 percent of gross domestic product. I would cut the federal workforce by 10 percent and put work requirements and time limits on means-tested entitlement programs.

Rand Paul: Yes.

Farm Bill

2. Do you believe the federal government should provide farmers with a cost-sharing safety net program that manages revenue risk and catastrophic disaster?

Farm Bureau supports strong and effective safety net/risk management programs that do not guarantee a profit, but instead protect producers from catastrophic occurrences.

Mike Huckabee: Yes.

Jeb Bush: Yes. I support crop insurance and farm programs that help farmers and ranchers manage unpredictable and sometimes catastrophic risks, such as natural disasters. These programs must also be fair to taxpayers, and we should always be looking at them to ensure they meet the needs of today.

Donald Trump: Yes.

Carly Fiorina: While I do not support programs where the government picks winners and losers, I do strongly support helping our farmers, and all of our citizens, in times of catastrophic disaster.

Ted Cruz: Yes.

Marco Rubio: Yes. I believe in a narrow cost-sharing safety net program for catastrophic disasters.

Rick Santorum: I served eight years on the Senate Agriculture Committee, and I fought to eliminate the subsidy-based cheap food policy and replace it with a market-based risk-management program with federal support to assure maximum participation – thus avoiding future disaster payments.

Rand Paul: Yes

International Trade

Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) allows trade deals to be negotiated and approved with an up or down vote without amendment by Congress.

3. Do you support expanding trade and Trade Promotion Authority?

Farm Bureau is a strong advocate of fair and open world trade and supports aggressive efforts at all levels to open new markets and expand existing markets for U.S. agricultural products. Farm Bureau supports the renewal of Trade Promotion Authority for the President of the United States.

Mike Huckabee: I oppose TPA for President Obama.

Jeb Bush: Yes. Increased trade opens markets for American goods, but trade deals need to be good for American workers and farmers. This is not just about lowering trade barriers, boosting sales, and creating jobs. It’s also about America playing a leadership role in setting policies that will shape the global economy.

Donald Trump: Yes.

Carly Fiorina: I support free and fair trade, but I would like President Obama to tell us what is in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement because we know the devil is in the details and this President has repeatedly proven that he cannot negotiate a good deal.

Ted Cruz: Yes. Senator Cruz supports free trade and TPA as the best way to ensure Congress has the authority to review trade agreements and represent American workers. The recent TPA legislation in Congress, however, was sadly enmeshed in backroom deals. See Senator Cruz's June 23 op-ed in Brietbart.

Marco Rubio: Yes.

Rick Santorum: I generally favor free trade, and have voted for TPA and most trade agreements. I have serious concerns about this President protecting the interests of America because of his side agreements on unrelated issues.

Rand Paul: No. I support free trade, but I don’t support transferring more power from Congress to the presidency.

Clean Water Act

The federal Clean Water Act regulates navigable U.S. waterways but recently the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has finalized a new rule – the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule - that redefines Clean Water Act jurisdiction.

4. Would you direct the EPA to withdrawal the new WOTUS rule?

Farm Bureau supports EPA withdrawing the WOTUS rule and supports legislative efforts to rein in EPA’s attempt to expand their authority and broaden the definition of ‘waters of the U.S.’

Mike Huckabee: Yes.

Jeb Bush: Yes. I want clean water, but the Administration has again overstepped its authority with flawed regulations that hurt farmers and small businesses. This one-size-fits-all approach eliminates the ability of states to make the best decisions for their own distinct water bodies, threatening successful environmental programs individual states have developed.

Donald Trump: Yes.

Carly Fiorina: Yes.

Ted Cruz: Yes.

Marco Rubio: Yes.

Rick Santorum: Yes. I agree with the AFB that we should “ditch the rule!” The proposed rule is an enormous expansion of the types of waters and lands that would fall under federal permitting regulations and would have a negative impact on farming practices.

Rand Paul: Yes.

Taxes

Expired tax provisions such as 179 small business expensing at $500,000 and 50 percent bonus depreciation are among the tax policies that help farmers manage tax liability from year to year.

5. Would you support comprehensive tax reform that lowers effective tax rates for farmers and creates permanent tax policy that gives farmers the certainty they need to plan for future years?

Farm Bureau supports replacing the current federal income tax with a fair and equitable tax system that encourages success, savings, investment, and entrepreneurship. We believe that the new code should be simple, transparent, revenue neutral, reduce rates, and allow businesses to deduct expenses when incurred (i.e. 179 small business expensing/bonus depreciation).

Mike Huckabee: Yes. The real solution to this issue is the FairTax.

Jeb Bush: Yes. The nation’s tax code creates uncertainty for businesses and workers. We have the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world. Americans spend more than $160 billion complying with this complicated mess. We need to reduce tax rates and eliminate the tax loopholes that only benefit special interests.

Donald Trump: Yes.

Carly Fiorina: Yes.

Ted Cruz: Yes. Senator Cruz supports simplifying the tax code and replacing the current convoluted system with a fair, simple flat rate that allows businesses to immediately expense equipment purchases.

Marco Rubio: Yes. My pro-growth, pro-family tax plan cuts taxes for all businesses to 25% and creates over 2 million jobs.

Rick Santorum: Yes. I will promote pro-family and pro-growth tax policies to strengthen opportunity and free enterprise in our country by implementing a simple, fair, flat tax. All forms of income -- individual, corporate, capital gains, etc. – will pay the same tax rate.

Rand Paul: Yes.

6. Do you support increases in the estate tax exemption, reduction of the rate, and ultimately the permanent repeal of estate taxes?

Farm Bureau supports permanent repeal of federal estate taxes. Until permanent repeal is achieved, the exemption should be increased and indexed to inflation.

Mike Huckabee: Yes. The real solution to this issue is the FairTax.

Jeb Bush: Yes. Death should not be a taxable event. Less than one percent of total federal revenue is from the estate tax. Despite the fact it raises little revenue, the tax hurts farmers and other small businesses.

Donald Trump: Yes.

Carly Fiorina: Of course we have to lower our rates, but the first thing we have to do is radically simplify the tax code. It’s too complicated today so only the big, the powerful, and the well-connected can handle it. This disadvantages small businesses like family farms.

Ted Cruz: Yes. Senator Cruz supports completely repealing the estate tax permanently, and his flat tax plan would do so.

Marco Rubio: Yes. My pro-growth, pro-family tax plan permanently eliminates the death tax.

Rick Santorum: Yes. In addition to creating a fair and flatter tax code, I will eliminate the estate tax, which is a tremendous drag on American job creation and poses a huge burden on farming families.

Rand Paul: Yes. My Fair and Flat Tax will abolish several federal taxes outright, including the estate tax.

Biotechnology Labeling

FDA does not require foods to be labeled as having been produced with biotechnology because it has found that there are no health effects associated with GMO foods or any material difference between GMO and non-GMO foods.

7. Do you support the use of biotechnology in food products and oppose efforts to require mandatory labeling for foods simply because they contain ingredients derived from biotechnology?

Farm Bureau supports biotechnology in food production and opposes the mandatory labeling of foods which contain ingredients derived from biotechnology.

Mike Huckabee: Yes.

Jeb Bush: Yes. Biotechnology has provided healthier crops and increased yields. It’s improved the farm sector's bottom line and allowed America to feed a hungry world. I oppose labeling. We should not be making it harder for that kind of innovation to exist. We should celebrate it.

Donald Trump: Yes.

Carly Fiorina: Yes.

Ted Cruz: Yes.

Marco Rubio: Yes.

Rick Santorum: Yes. There is no reason, scientifically, to label a product that is nutritionally the same.

Rand Paul: Yes.

Energy

8. Do you support the Renewable Fuels Standard as passed by Congress, and oppose the EPA’s proposed reduction of renewable fuel usage required in the liquid fuel supply?

Farm Bureau supports the Renewable Fuels Standard 2 (RFS2) as passed in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

Mike Huckabee: Yes.

Jeb Bush: Yes. I support RFS until 2022. Ultimately however I believe we need to look to market-solutions in the energy space, with the goal of phasing out dependence on mandates and subsidies.

Donald Trump: Yes.

Carly Fiorina: No. Over time, I believe we should phase out all energy subsidies, tax credits, and anything where the government is essentially picking winners and losers. It is not the government’s job to determine market access.

Ted Cruz: No. Senator Cruz supports renewable fuels. He believes there is a proven demand for ethanol, but that it should stand on its own, not atop the footstool of the government. The federal government should not pick winners and losers in any industry. The market is the best scale of demand, and it leaves decisions up to the people rather than Washington.

Marco Rubio: We must move towards market-based energy policies where all sources are self-sustainable without government mandates. However, many have made investments based on the RFS law, and I do not support pulling the rug out from underneath them.

Rick Santorum: Yes, I support the RFS. It’s pro-market access, pro-environment, pro-competition and pro-American jobs. Competition means lower energy prices, which means energy-heavy manufacturers can put more money toward hiring Americans. I oppose the EPA’s proposed reduction of renewable fuel usage required in the liquid fuel supply.

Rand Paul: No. I believe the market should decide how much and what kind of fuel to use, which is why I introduced the Fuel Choice and Deregulation Act with Senator Grassley. My bill incentivizes the adoption of fuel choice and makes it easier for producers to get new fuels and blends to consumers.

To learn more about the candidates and their positions on issues that are important to agriculture, check out American Farm Bureau’s Election ’16 page.

RFD-TV launched a “Rural Town Hall” series featuring interviews with many of the 2016 presidential candidates of both parties. In several of the interviews, Iowa Farm Bureau was invited to collaborate with RFD-TV to ask questions on issues that are of importance to agriculture and rural communities. To watch the candidate discussions or to read full transcripts of the interviews, please click here.
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