CONFERENCE REPORT ON H.R. 2419, FOOD, CONSERVATION, AND ENERGY ACT OF 2008 -- (Extensions of Remarks - May 16, 2008)
HON. MICHELE BACHMANN
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
WEDNESDAY, MAY 14, 2008
* Mrs. BACHMANN. Mr. Speaker, I rise with great reluctance to oppose the bill before us, H.R. 2419. After more than a year of negotiations, this is heralded as the best compromise that this Congress could come to. But with commodity prices through the roof, this bill rejects the opportunity to make a difference and instead subsidizes millionaires making up to $2.5 million. It makes only a cosmetic cut at best to direct payments at a time when some farmers are receiving record prices for their commodity crops.
* Taxpayer dollars are not Monopoly money yet this $300 billion bill treats them as such and at a time when middle-class families are feeling the pinch at the pump and the grocery store and the college admission office that is simply unconscionable.
* Additionally, this bill creates a permanent disaster program that is costly, unnecessary, and bureaucratic. The federal government already pays for (1) crop insurance to assist farmers when a crop fails, (2) counter-cyclical payments when prices drop, (3) marketing loans to allow farmers to finance a crop and guarantee a price, and (4) Direct Payments for no particular reason. Adding a whole new program to these existing programs is simply wasteful.
* Mr. Speaker, simply put: This is not a farm bill. This is not a bill that provides a safety net for community farmers that need our help. This is not a bill that addresses the skyrocketing costs of farm products that struggling families experience every day. This bill is business as usual Washington-style.
* Our agricultural policies are in desperate need of commonsense improvements and this bill fails to deliver. We should reject this bill that does nothing to support family farmers and go back to the drawing board for real reform.
* Farming is an important part of Minnesota's culture. A true love of the land and of nature's beauty is ingrained in our collective psyche and I have too much respect for those who live by the land to support this bill which does nothing to reform our farm programs but soaks the American taxpayers--both those who farm for a living and those who do not--with a deluge of unrelated pork and wasteful spending.