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Agricultural Disaster Assistance and Western States Emergency Unfinished Business Appropriations Act, 2007

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


AGRICULTURAL DISASTER ASSISTANCE AND WESTERN STATES EMERGENCY UNFINISHED BUSINESS APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2007 -- (House of Representatives - May 10, 2007)

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Mr. KINGSTON. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

I wanted to say, Mr. Speaker, as I listen to this debate tonight, I am reminded of my old alley cat, Hercules. When I was growing up in Athens, Georgia, I had a mean, tough cat. He was an alley cat who basically adopted me. You know, we humans don't really adopt cats. Athens, Georgia, kind of a hilly, foothills Appalachian town with ivy bank. In the ivy bank, we had lots of cute little chipmunks.

Hercules, being tough and could be the bully, could be somewhat like the majority party in some respects in that he was the alpha cat of the neighborhood. He would catch chipmunks at will. He would usually kill them and eat them, dispensing of them quickly. But every now and then, and it is an interesting thing about cats, it is not unique to my cat, but he would catch a chipmunk and he would toy with it awhile. He would just play with it.

You would think: Did he have a change of heart? Is he going to let this chipmunk go? No, he would just play with it awhile.

Well, that is what is going on tonight. We are hearing a lot of discussion, a lot of administration bashing about how cruel the White House is and a lot of lamenting about the Republican Party, and a lot of talk about compassion for the farmers and the rural communities and schools. There has been talk about the horrors of fire, drought and windstorm.

And yet as we look at the rule that is governing this bill, which would be known as H. Res. 387 in the House Calendar No. 59, introduced by Ms. Slaughter, of New York, if we turn to page 3, section 4, we read the fine print. And it says: ``Sec. 4.(a) In the engrossment of H.R. 2206, the Clerk shall--

``(1) await the disposition of H.R. 2237 and H.R. 2207;

``(2) add the respective texts of H.R. 2237 and H.R. 2207, as passed by the House, as new matter at the end of H.R. 2206;

``(3) confirm the title of H.R. 2206 to reflect the addition of H.R. 2237 and H.R. 2207, as passed by the House, to the engrossment,'' which as the Speaker knows and followed very closely, what this means is this is Hercules toying with the chipmunk.

It means there is not a disaster bill at all. It just means the majority party is toying with a disaster bill, because what happens, this goes right back to the President attached to the war funding bill.

Here is my point, Mr. Speaker. If all these things are true, why is the majority party toying with a disaster? We are right back where we started from. We have just jumped out from the war funding bill only temporarily for I guess some purpose of voting here, and I understand politics, you can't remove that from the House of Representatives, but the reality is we are toying with a disaster bill because we already know two things: All the gobbledygook on page 4 that the Clerk shall do means this bill gets rejoined with the military funding bill. That is a fact.

Number two, the President has already said he is going to veto the military funding bill, and one of the reasons is because of the extracurricular, nonmilitary items that are being added to it.

So what I would say to Hercules, if you were worried about that little old chipmunk, you really would let it go. And I would say to the majority party, if you really were sincere about disaster relief, you would separate it from this rule, this H. Res. 367 introduced by Ms. Slaughter of New York and say, you know, we are going to have an up-or-down vote on a straight, freestanding separate disaster bill so that the farmers and ranchers and people out west can get the relief that we have heard over and over again on a bipartisan basis that they need so badly.

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