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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 2112, Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Ms. FOXX. Mr. Speaker, for the purpose of debate only, I yield the customary 30 minutes to the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. McGovern), pending which I yield myself such time as I may consume. During consideration of this resolution, all time yielded is for the purpose of debate only.

GENERAL LEAVE

Ms. FOXX. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentlewoman from North Carolina?

There was no objection.

Ms. FOXX. Mr. Speaker, House Resolution 300 provides for an open rule providing for consideration of H.R. 2112, a bill which makes appropriations for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012, and for other purposes.

Mr. Speaker, Republicans have offered yet another open rule on this legislation, something we did not see when Democrats were in the majority for 4 years. House Republicans are keeping their promise to the American people by submitting a bill that contains no earmarks. House Republicans are keeping their promise to reduce spending and rein in the Federal deficit which threatens our very existence as a free country. This bill addresses many of the glaring inefficiencies of Washington by reducing wasteful and redundant programs.

Mr. Speaker, this is a bill that, under the control of the liberal Democrats, kept growing and growing. In fiscal year 2008, this same bill had a price tag of $90.8 billion. One year later, fiscal year 2009, the liberal Democrats increased spending by 14 percent to $103.3 billion. And for fiscal year 2010, yet another liberal hike in the cost of appropriations to the taxpayer to the tune of $125 billion, representing a whopping 21 percent increase in spending.

The liberals claim that any cuts in spending for any program covered by this bill drives more people into hunger. Strange that they did not say that last year when these very same liberal Democrats cut $562 million from WIC so that they could spend it in unrelated matters. That is only one example of the lack of leadership, courtesy of our friends across the aisle.

Lest we forget, it was their failed policies that ruined the economy when they were in charge of the power of the purse. Their habitual and unending spending increases have not helped the economy as they had promised but, rather, have saddled our children and grandchildren with outrageous debt to pay off.

With better fiscal stewardship, our economy would be stronger and our country's job creators would be able to provide the jobs that our Nation's workforce is hungry for. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in January 2007--the month that the Democrats took over Congress--unemployment was at 4.6 percent. Mr. Speaker, let me repeat that. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in January 2007, the month the Democrats took over Congress, with a Republican President, unemployment was at 4.6 percent. That number has nearly doubled under the eyes of the liberal Democrats and the Obama administration. Last year, the Democrats failed to pass a budget or any appropriations bill. There has been a complete lack of leadership on their side of the aisle and at the White House.

While it got very little publicity from the lame stream media, the Senate this year overwhelmingly rejected President Obama's budget proposal on a unanimous vote of 97-0; unanimous opposition to the President's budget and nothing said about it in the press. The Republican House budget that we sent to the Senate faired much better than the President's budget. Again, Mr. Speaker, we've seen nothing but a lack of leadership from the administration and the liberal Democrats in Congress.

The bottom line is that if we do not make sound and responsible fiscal decisions that focus on reducing spending and making the government leaner and more efficient, we risk forfeiting control of our own purse to debtor nations. The simple truth is that we are currently borrowing 43 cents for every dollar spent at the Federal level. To have foreign nations provide funds for so much of what our country spends is simply negligent and irresponsible. Even the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, has stated that the national debt is the single biggest threat to our national security.

Taxpayers will be paying around $600 billion in interest on the national debt by 2012. To put that figure in perspective, Mr. Speaker, the fiscal year 2011 defense budget is $685 billion. In order to grow the economy and provide an environment in which Americans can prosper, we need to end expensive and ineffective government programs and remove the barriers of uncertainty that prevent employers from hiring.

Many liberal elites are calling for higher taxes--higher taxes, Mr. Speaker--on hardworking Americans in order to pay for their irresponsible spending and fiscal decisions. The Democrat plan is to continue to borrow, spend, and tax, taking money out of the pockets of hardworking Americans.

A clear difference between liberal Democrats and Republicans is that Republicans do not claim ownership of the salaries of hardworking Americans and businesses that create jobs. Elite Democrats believe that they are entitled to take money from Americans and small businesses in order to carry out their liberal agenda, and job creators are left with whatever the liberal elites deem is necessary for them. You cannot help the job seeker by punishing the job creator with higher taxes and more government red tape.

Mr. Speaker, American businesses need a clear perspective of what the future holds in order to create American jobs and strengthen our economy. The uncertainty and mixed messages that the Obama administration provide are completely counterproductive to achieving any kind of economic prosperity.

President Obama's economic policies have consisted of bullying businesses to help union allies, such as the case in South Carolina where the NLRB is telling a private company where to do business for the benefit of Big Labor bosses at the expense of 1,000 jobs in South Carolina.

When Americans needed a jobs agenda, President Obama and the elite Democrat-controlled Congress gave them a spending agenda. From the President's first day in office in January 2009 through April 30, 2011, the economy has lost 2.5 million jobs, an average of 3,044 jobs lost every day. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 150,000 new jobs are needed to be created each month just to keep up with population growth. The economy is not growing fast enough or strong enough to employ the 13.7 million Americans looking for work.

But the liberal elites seem content on sitting back and watching agencies expand the bureaucracy by coming out with an unending stream of job-killing regulations. This in no way helps create confidence in American business, jobs, or economic prosperity. The Democrat elites, indeed, have made history. The result of their liberal agenda has been trillion-dollar deficits, historic debt, and historic unemployment.

Mr. Speaker, we must empower America's job creators, small businesses, families, and entrepreneurs to lead us to real job growth. More wasteful Washington spending isn't the solution. That's why Republicans propose saving Americans over $800 billion worth of tax increases by repealing ObamaCare and by adopting the appropriations bills that we are proposing now.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Ms. FOXX. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I am always having to help balance out the comments that my good colleague from Massachusetts is making. He criticizes Republicans for keeping tax cuts. Well, I have to explain to him his President, a Democrat, supported that. Most Democrats here supported that last year. We didn't keep tax cuts. We stopped tax increases. Even the President and his people have a little sense about economics in that, if you raise taxes in the middle of a terrible economic situation, you create problems.

I would also like to point out to my friend from Massachusetts that they were in charge for 4 years. It was during those 4 years that we got into the mess that we got into. They controlled both Houses of Congress, and they controlled the Presidency for 2 years of that. Yet they didn't stop any of these things that they had talked about.

Mr. McGOVERN. Will the gentlelady yield?

Ms. FOXX. I will when I have completed my comments. I appreciate that.

He refers to this legislation as the ``pro-hunger bill.'' This tired claim by our liberal friends that Republicans are intent on starving children really goes beyond clichés now.

Putting that aside, my friend from Massachusetts needs to understand, if he really cares about the funding for Federal food programs, he should vote for the underlying bill. Why? Because it provides $6 billion for the WIC Program. Let me point out again that, last year, my colleague from across the aisle voted to cut the WIC Program, for a totally unrelated program, of over $500 million, $68.2 billion for food stamps, $180 million for the McGovern-Dole food program, and $18.8 billion for the Child Nutrition Program.

Perhaps these aren't the funding levels he would like to see, but I think my colleague knows that legislating is the art of compromise, and there are plenty of Members who would like to see deeper cuts to further enhance efficiencies in this program.

The bottom line is that by voting against this bill, using his logic, Mr. McGovern is actually voting to starve the children and to create more hunger by denying over $93 billion in overall Federal food assistance to the hungry people that he claims to support. In contrast, by voting for the underlying bill, he is voting to provide the funding he argues these programs so desperately need.

Let me do a recap of what is in this bill, Mr. Speaker. Seventy-seven percent of the bill is SNAP, that is food stamps, child nutrition and WIC. Child nutrition programs will receive $18.8 billion in mandatory funding this year. That is funding that is on autopilot. This covers 68 percent of all school lunches and 85.5 percent of all school breakfasts, either free or at a reduced rate.

The SNAP, or food stamp program, $68.2 billion, provides support to 45 million people. Mr. Speaker, it is unconscionable that we have 45 million people in this country getting food stamps. That is a result of the policies of our Democratic friends across the aisle. Again, WIC, $6 billion; CAP, $136 million; the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education, Child Nutrition grants, $180 million. There is a lot that the liberals can be grateful for in this program.

I would yield to a question from Mr. McGovern, if he has a question to ask me.

Mr. McGOVERN. I would just simply say to the gentlelady that, again, I would reiterate my view that this bill is morally indefensible the way it is written.

The gentlelady talks about WIC. Under the cuts in this bill, and I say conservatively, between 200,000 and 350,000 low income women and children will be thrown off of WIC. You mention the McGovern-Dole school feeding program. The monies you cut in that program would mean that we would serve 5 million less children.

Ms. FOXX. Mr. Speaker, reclaiming my time, the gentleman will have plenty of time under his time to make the comments that he wants to make. I was more than willing to answer a question, but he will have time to make those comments when it is his turn.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Ms. FOXX. Mr. Speaker, I am always very reluctant to talk about personal experiences on the floor, but I want to tell my colleague across the aisle that I grew up probably poorer than anybody in this body.

And I know something about what it means to struggle to get food. I know what that's all about. And let me tell you, there's nobody here who feels more strongly that more Federal Government involvement in this is not the right way to go. What we need is to be able to develop policies that allow people to get a job so they can provide for themselves instead of being dependent on the Federal Government to provide for them.

Let me talk about my colleague says budgets are moral documents. Again, my colleague and I don't agree on a lot of issues when it comes to policies, but we certainly agree on that: budgets are moral documents. And what the Republicans have done with the budget that we passed here in this body this year is to say to the American people, We understand that budgets are moral documents. We passed a budget. The Democrats didn't even pass a budget last year. So they didn't want to face up to it.

I don't know what that says about their morality, but I know what it says about Republicans' morality. We have a strong sense of morality. We passed a budget. We're being honest with the American people. We're telling them, You cannot continue to spend above your means. The average person understands that. And we are going to continue to be honest with the American people. We're going to cut inefficient government programs wherever we can.

Let me say, Mr. Speaker, that right now, if you are a 3-year-old child in this country, there are 12 Federal feeding programs to serve you. If you're a 10-year-old, there are nine Federal feeding programs. If you're 65 years old, there are five Federal feeding programs. We do not lack for programs to help take care of the hungry people in this country, Mr. Speaker.

What we lack is efficiency in our programs. And Republicans are going to do all that we can to make sure that we bring efficiency and effectiveness to whatever programs are funded here.

I now yield 3 minutes to my colleague from Georgia (Mr. Graves).

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Ms. FOXX. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my colleague from Massachusetts talking about right-wing radicals because I associate myself with George Washington, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson, who were right-wing radicals, along with the other Founders.

I would now like to yield 3 minutes to my distinguished colleague from Wyoming (Mrs. Lummis).

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Ms. FOXX. Mr. Speaker, I want to point out again what my colleague from Georgia said. It was President Obama's agreement with the WTO that is forcing the funding for the Brazilian farmers. This is not something that Republicans did.

Mr. Speaker, we cannot continue to ignore the facts. With skyrocketing debt and unacceptable unemployment rates, the Federal Government must learn to live within its means and be accountable for how it spends taxpayer money.

House Republicans are continuing to fulfill our pledge to America and keep the promises we made to the American people before the election last November. I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this rule.


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