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Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act of 2007

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


FARM, NUTRITION, AND BIOENERGY ACT OF 2007 -- (Senate - December 14, 2007)

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Mr. CHAMBLISS. Mr. President, today, the Senate provides certainty to America's farmers and ranchers, conservationists, school lunch program beneficiaries, environmentalists, and rural communities all across this great land. Today, the Senate sets aside partisanship in favor of assisting those in need. Today, we honor our commitment to the American agriculture sector with the passage of the Food and Energy Security Act of 2007.

The bipartisan bill before us today is the culmination of years of hard work on the part of the Senate Agriculture Committee and the millions of constituents we work so hard to represent with dignity and purpose. As in any great endeavor, this accomplishment is the fruit of the labor of so many.

As we approach final passage of the Food and Energy Security Act of 2007, I would like to take a moment to express my thanks and appreciation to everyone who has made this historic day possible.

First, let me extend my appreciation to the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator Tom Harkin.

Tom, you have truly been a leader throughout this process. You have demonstrated a bipartisan work ethic that is essential to this body's work. You have been a true friend and have been extremely cooperative with me. I appreciate that.

Furthermore, each and every member of the Senate Agriculture Committee has played a critical role in crafting this bill and formulating the fiscally responsible policy contained in this farm bill.

Every Senator, regardless of party affiliation or the region of the country they are fortunate to represent, came together to produce a farm bill that will carry our agriculture sector into the next 5 years of prosperity. I would be remiss if I did not extend my praise to two other members of the committee. First of all, Senator Blanche Lincoln. Senator Lincoln has been a dear friend since our days in the House. We have had the opportunity to work together on several different agriculture measures. I am extremely appreciative for the work she has done on this particular bill.

My friend, Kent Conrad, what a great champion for agriculture he has been. I would have to say that in my 13 years in public service, I have never served with a finer individual or legislator than Kent Conrad, nor will I in however long I remain in public service. To Kent and to the services he has rendered as chairman of the Budget Committee, as well as a member of the Agriculture Committee on this endeavor, I appreciate it.

There are a number of other folks whom I wish to acknowledge.

I would also like to thank those individuals whose work behind the scenes was instrumental to the passage of this farm bill. I cannot say enough about my staff director, Martha Scott Poindexter. She is the type of staff who you want in the trenches with you, and I am fortunate to have her on my team. Without her efforts, we would not be here today. Also, I would like to thank the chief counsel of the committee, Vernie Hubert. Vernie's vast knowledge of farm policy was indispensable throughout this process. All of my staff deserves a great deal of recognition and I extend my thanks to: Hayden Milberg, Cameron Bruett, Kate Coler, Betsy Croker, Anne Hazlett, Christy Seyfert, Dawn Stump, Patty Lawrence, Alan Mackey, Erin Hamm, Matt Coley, Jane Anna Harris, and Carlisle Clarke.

I would also like to recognize Senator Harkin's staff director, Mark Halverson and his entire staff; Jim Miller and Tom Mahr from Senator Conrad's staff; Robert Holifield from Senator LINCOLN's staff; Megan Hauck from Senator McConnell's staff; and Ann Wright from the majority leader's office. Their leadership and commitment helped to ensure final passage of this critical legislation.

I am extremely proud of the legislation before us today and the example it provides to the American people of what can be accomplished when we focus on the needs of those we serve. While not every Member may be pleased with each and every provision in this bill; I am certain that we can all agree that the Senate has taken up an honorable endeavor in securing the future of American agriculture. The investments in this bill will not only benefit our farmers and ranchers, but will promote prosperity far beyond the farm gate.

I strongly urge my colleagues to vote for final passage.

Inside the Beltway, everyone knows that the Congressional Budget Office is a critical part of the legislative process and provides us with the information to make informed and balanced decisions. Sometimes their decisions frustrate us and the complex nature of their work sometimes confuses us. Nonetheless, they are professionals and their commitment to public service should be commended.

Every time we embark on a farm bill, the ag team at CBO is called upon to make very difficult decisions and to analyze policy that is based on hypothetical assumptions.

I would like to personally thank Jim Langley, Greg Hitz, Dave Hull, Kathleen Fitzgerald, Dan Hoople, Megan Carroll, and Kathy Gramp for their hard work this past year. They all have been extremely responsive to my staff and helpful answering our questions.

With that, I yield the floor.

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Mr. CHAMBLISS. Mr. President, knowing the chairman is about my age, I hope he doesn't have another child in the next 2 hours.

Mr. HARKIN. I sure hope not.

Mr. CHAMBLISS. Mr. President, I wish to add to what I said a little earlier and some comments made before the vote.

Mr. President, today the Senate provides certainty to America's farmers and ranchers, conservationists, school lunch program beneficiaries, environmentalists, and rural communities all across this great land. Today, the Senate sets aside partisanship in favor of assisting those in need. Today, we honor our commitment to the American agriculture sector with the passage of the Food and Energy Security Act of 2007.

The bipartisan bill before us today is the culmination of years of hard work on the part of the Senate Agriculture Committee and the millions of constituents we work so hard to represent with dignity and purpose. And, as in any great endeavor, this accomplishment is the fruit of the labor of so many. As we approach final passage of the Food and Energy Security Act of 2007, I would like to take a moment to express my thanks and sincere appreciation to everyone that has made this historic day possible.

First, let me extend my appreciation to the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator Tom Harkin. He has truly been a leader throughout this process, demonstrating the bipartisan work ethic that is essential to this body's work. Furthermore, each and every member of the Senate Agriculture Committee has played a critical role in crafting this bill and formulating the fiscally responsible policy contained in this farm bill. Every Senator, regardless of party affiliation or the region of the country they are fortunate to represent; came together to produce a farm bill that will carry our agricultural sector into the next 5 years of prosperity.

I would be remiss if I did not extend my praise to one particular member of our committee, Senator Kent Conrad. I can say without equivocation, that there is no way we could have arrived where we are today without his leadership, budgetary skills, and tireless willingness to set aside partisan differences in order to accomplish our common goal of continuing our commitment to the American farmer and rancher. As chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, Kent has obviously played a key role throughout this process and I have not served with a finer individual in all my years of public service.

Inside the Beltway, everyone knows that the Congressional Budget Office is a critical part of the legislative process and provides us with the information to make informed and balanced decisions. Sometimes their decisions frustrate us and the complex nature of their work sometimes confuses us. Nonetheless, they are professionals and their commitment to public service should be commended.

Every time we embark on a farm bill, the Agriculture Team at CBO is called upon to make very difficult decisions and to analyze policy that is based on hypothetical assumptions.

I would like to personally thank Jim Langley, Greg Hitz, Dave Hull, Kathleen Fitzgerald, Dan Hoople, Megan Carroll and Kathy Gramp for their hard work this past year. They all have been extremely responsive to my staff and helpful answering our questions.

I would like to thank also a number of individuals who have worked behind the scenes and who were certainly instrumental and largely responsible for the passage of this farm bill. I can't say enough about my staff director, Martha Scott Poindexter. She is the type of staffer you want in the trenches with you, and I am fortunate to have her on my team. She has been with me now, off and on, for 13 years, and she is one great southern lady from Mississippi who understands agriculture, having grown up on a farm. Without her, I simply wouldn't be able to function when it comes to agriculture, so I am very pleased she was as instrumental as she was and here to help guide me.

I would also like to thank the chief counsel to the committee, Vernie Hubert. Vernie, with his vast knowledge of farm policy, was simply indispensable in this process. As the chairman probably remembers, Vernie was a staff director on the House side during the last farm bill, as well as a couple of others previous to that. But he was a staffer on the Democratic side, and I was so impressed with Vernie during the course of my years in the House, that when I was elected to the Senate, I told Martha Scott the first thing she had to do was to go out and hire Vernie Hubert, and she did, and he has been a great one.

All my staff deserves a great deal of recognition, and I would like to extend my thanks to: Hayden Milberg, Cameron Bruett, Kate Coler, Betsy Croker, Anne Hazlett, Christy Seyfert, Dawn Stump, Patty Lawrence, Alan Mackey, Erin Hamm, Matt Coley, Jane Anna Harris, and Carlisle Clarke.

Also, to those individuals on the Democratic side, and I mentioned Mark a little bit earlier, but this is a bipartisan committee, both memberwise and staffwise: Todd Batta, Richard Bender, Eldon Boes, Phil Buchan, Dan Christenson, Kate Cyrul, Katharine Ferguson, John Ferrell, Kerri Johannsen, Susan Keith, Peter Kelley, Amy Lowenthal, Tina May, Stephanie Mercier, Derek Miller, Adela Ramos, Jonathan Urban, and Dave White. What great folks they are and what a great service they have provided to Senator Harkin as well as me.

There is also, over on Senator Conrad's staff, two guys over there, Jim Miller and Tom Marr. These two men have worked extremely hard, and all these folks have put in hundreds of hours. I know how much time we have put into it, but staff has two, three, and four times as many hours as we have. To all of them, I say thank you.

To Megan Hauck, from Senator McConnell's office; Ann Wright from the majority leader's office; Robert Holyfield from Senator Lincoln's office, their leadership and commitment helped to ensure final passage of this crucial legislation.

I am extremely proud of the legislation before us today and the example it provides to the American people of what can be accomplished when we focus on the needs of those we serve. While not every Member may be pleased with each and every provision in this bill, I am certain we can all agree the Senate has made an honorable endeavor in securing the future of American agriculture. The investment in this bill will not only benefit our farmers and ranchers but will promote prosperity far beyond the farm gate, and I am very pleased to have been part of this with my chairman, Senator Harkin.

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