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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

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Mr. DREIER. It's a tall order that my friend from Grandfather Community has just imposed on me, Mr. Speaker, but I will say it's great to be standing here as we proceed with consideration of the appropriations process. Last year, we for all intents and purposes had no appropriations process. When it was done, we all know it was shut down. We are here today considering the third appropriations bill under an open amendment process.

Now, my friend from Connecticut has just characterized this as a misguided rule. Since 1837, Mr. Speaker, 1837--it's been a few years--we have had within the rules of the House a structure whereby the authorizers have a responsibility and the appropriators have a responsibility. She said that we somehow are unraveling this very, very great and delicate compromise that was put together in the Appropriations Committee.

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Mr. DREIER. If I could reclaim my time, my next line, Mr. Speaker, was going to be to my friend from Connecticut, there happen to be 435 Members of the United States House of Representatives, and we have a process known as appropriations. We also have an authorization process as well.

Since 1837, the rule that my friends say is misguided, it has been the rule of the House. Mr. Speaker, to call it misguided to comply with the rules of the House, something that our friends in the last two Congresses chose to ignore repeatedly, is outrageous.

Now, as we listen to these reports of hunger that exist in the United States of America, I was just talking to the distinguished chairman of the subcommittee, Mr. Kingston, who made it very clear that there may be a stupidity factor, but the fact of the matter is there are so many programs that exist today, as Mr. Kingston reported up in the Rules Committee, that people do have an opportunity to benefit from those programs.

We also are dealing with tremendous constraints that have been imposed upon us because of the fact that we saw an 82 percent increase in nondiscretionary spending over the past 4 years, and what it means is, with a $14 trillion national debt, we have to make some tough choices. We want to make sure--Mr. Kingston is working on this, as are the authorizers--we want to make sure that those programs that exist actually do provide an opportunity for three, not four or five, but three meals a day for people who are truly in need.

And my friend from Grandfather Community, Mr. Speaker, pointed to the fact that we need to put into place a program that will encourage job creation and economic growth. For literally years, we've had languishing agreements that would open up new markets around the world in Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. We have not taken action on that. I hope very much that before August we do. That will help create jobs and get people who may have to look to government programs today in a position where they can, in fact, feed themselves.

That's our goal. We want to make sure that everyone has an opportunity, and we want to continue this process allowing Democrats and Republicans alike to be heard.

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