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Public Statements

Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. KINGSTON. I thank Chairman Rogers for the time. I've enjoyed working with him and Ranking Member Dicks, and also the ranking member of our Subcommittee on Agriculture, FDA, and Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the gentleman from California, Mr. Sam Farr. We've held 11 hearings, and we've had probably about 25 hours worth of debate on the floor in which over 50 amendments were offered. This bill is a prime example of what can happen when we get back to regular order.

It was an open process, passed by the subcommittee, full committee, and then finally by the House floor. The bill is $350 million below FY11 in the discretionary portion, and $2.5 billion lower than the President's request for FY12. It is compliant with the Budget Control Act, and a step to show both regular order, compromise and moving us towards a balanced budget.

I also wanted to point out something, Mr. Speaker, that the mandatory portion of this bill is tremendous. Our discretionary total on agriculture is $19.77 billion, but the mandatory is $116.9 billion. School lunch and breakfast and the SNAP program are $98.5 billion alone. If we do not get control of the mandatory spending, we will never be able to balance the budget.

So I urge all Members of Congress to be cognizant of that and work in the important authorizing committees to do some of the reform.

This bill was successful in eliminating a Federal program that goes back to World War I, the mohair subsidy; and that actually was a program designed to get more wool for the World War I soldiers' uniforms. And Ronald Reagan famously said, if you don't believe in resurrection, try killing a government program. And yet, today, the mohair program does get eliminated.

We also reduced the BCAP program, which was something that our committee has been very concerned about the out-of-control spending on it. We've restrained the CFTC with some important bipartisan language regarding user exemptions and cost-benefit analysis. And we have urged the FDA to stay on its core missions, and we hope that the authorizing committees will look at medical device and drug approval time and transparency so that the FDA can work closer with the providers and the manufacturers rather than in an antagonistic point of view.

We've balanced school safety, inspection, ag research with the many demands that are out there. We have worked with Secretary Vilsack, Dr. Hamburg at FDA, and Mr. Gensler at the CFTC; and we've had an open process throughout the year.

So I urge my colleagues to vote for this and pass this bill. But I also wanted to say thank you to the great staff on both sides. Martin Delgado, head clerk on the majority side; along with Tom O'Brien, Betsy Bina, Andrew Cooper and Allie Thigpen and Mike Donal; and then on the minority side, working for Mr. Farr, Martha Foley, Matt Smith, Troy Phillips and Rochelle Dornatt.

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