AGRICULTURE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2007 -- (House of Representatives - May 23, 2006)
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Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Chairman, I want to say this, and I appreciate what the gentleman from Arizona is doing, because I think that we all need to be accountable for anything that is in the bill or anything we vote on. One of my gripes with the other body is that they keep things in committee, and it is an incumbent protection system.
So I think having the opportunity to come down here and debate and fight for what we believe is important.
I want to point out, last year, our budget passed in the final version out of conference committee 212-214. That is a two-vote margin. So if you put more spending in the budget, it probably would not have passed. If you put less spending in the budget, it probably would not have passed also. It truly was a balance between those who wanted to spend more and those who wanted to spend less. And there are a lot who want to spend less.
However, politics is the reality of the possible or the passable. What you have sometimes is budgets that are hard to justify. I remember Mr. Obey telling a good story about something called the soldier fly. Down in the area I represent, there is a lot of agriculture. There are a lot of chicken growers, and chicken growers have chickens in hen houses. But, unfortunately, or fortunately, in a lot of rural areas, it has turned urban. And what do chickens have? Chickens have flies. They have blue flies. People build houses, and then the first thing they do is complain about the flies coming from the chicken houses. And the farmers were there first, but it does not matter.
Well, enter the soldier fly. The soldier fly comes in, Mr. Chairman, like a big hero and eats the blue flies; solves the problems for the farmer, solves the problem for the homeowners in rural areas. And this is a big economic issue, getting rid of the flies in chicken houses.
Well, we want to know, what can you do to foster more soldier flies? And so you study soldier flies. It is a nontoxic way to take care of pollution, but of course, it is great fodder for Reader's Digest to say they are studying the mating habits of soldier flies, which is not necessarily true.
But having the opportunity to come out here, and it was not an earmark, but to come out here and have an opportunity to debate things is good. I think it is a healthy exercise. But I want to say this as a committee member: When things are in the budget, and this budget, as you know, is down 8 percent from last year and that Member priorities are down $35 million, you are under budget. And what somebody in California agriculture or somebody from Ohio agriculture supports may be different from what people in, say, Georgia support. But the overall goal is within the budget.
This year we have only passed a budget on the House side by a mere I believe 7 or 6 votes. So we are all walking that balance.
But I want to say I urge a ``no'' vote on this amendment, but I do like this process. I also want to say on behalf of the Appropriations Committee members, we do favor earmark reform. But we also believe when you have things like the Bridge to Nowhere that don't come from an appropriation bill, you have to open up the process to all of the other committees as well.
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