FURTHER CONTINUING APPROPRIATIONS, FISCAL YEAR 2007
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Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, I thank the ranking member, Mr. Lewis, for the opportunity to speak on this bill.
I oppose the bill; and the reason why, Mr. Speaker, is I think it is very important for our constituents to understand.
Yes, there was a mandate in November as there had been a growing mandate throughout the year to get rid of earmarks. Now when my constituents supported the President's call to get rid of $18 billion worth of earmarks, what they thought he meant was reducing spending $18 billion. They do not want earmarks eliminated for the sake of taking them out of the hands of elected people and putting them in the hands of non-elected bureaucrats, yet that is what this omnibus bill does.
Now in the ag section, the total spending has gone from 100 to $150 billion down. That sounds like a good savings, some of it. You can argue, where did the savings come from?
One thing that was eliminated, $70 million in environmental quality incentive program, $44 million for conservation security programs. These are programs that help farmers, and they have a cost share. It helps farmers plan on environmental repairs, keeping nutrients out of flowing into streams, safe environmental practices on dairies like building lagoons, things like that.
The bill also eliminated $74 million in watershed and flood prevention, building small dams, and it eliminates $2 million from the USDA biomass program. Now at a time when we all want energy independence, eliminating the biomass program in the USDA doesn't make sense to me.
Also it eliminates $11 million in food stamp funding for the employment and training portion of food stamps. All important things.
But where does the money go? For one thing, it goes to the FDA bureaucrats. The FDA wanted about a $20 million increase. They get, under this bill, a $100 million increase, without a single committee hearing on it.
Again, though, it is not just that the FDA is getting money. It is that the taxpayers aren't getting money. Earmarks have been eliminated, but the money does not go back to the taxpayers. It simply goes to the bureaucracy. And that is why I think we should recommit this bill because we can do a better job.
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