"Thank you Chairman Lucas and good morning.
"It's often said that the Agriculture Committee is the least partisan of all the Congressional committees. We have a bipartisan tradition of being reasonable and a commitment to working together in the best interests of our constituents. While I still think that's true, today is one very unfortunate exception.
"In fact, I would contend this entire process is a waste of time. It doesn't mean anything. The Senate has not agreed to reconciliation and, as you have said Mr. Chairman, the Senate almost certainly will not touch this bill.
"The proposal before us is not serious. You can't have a serious conversation about getting our budget under control when you take large items like defense off the table, which is really why we're here. Taking a meat ax to nutrition programs that feed millions of hard-working families, in an effort to avoid defense cuts, is not a serious way to achieve deficit reduction. No wonder no one likes Congress.
"We have a farm bill to write, Mr. Chairman. We've heard from folks representing all titles of the farm bill from farm programs to conservation to nutrition. One thing is clear. They want us to get our work done, and they want us to get it done this year. I stand ready, Mr. Chairman, to work together in a bipartisan and serious manner to set the priorities for farm and food programs for the next five years.
"It won't be easy. We know that. There are real and legitimate budget pressures. I hope we are all ready to make the difficult decisions we know will be necessary.
"I understand why you need to engage in this political exercise. I just caution that if we continue down the path before us today it will be far more difficult to come together and enact responsible and thoughtful policy for the American people.
"With that Mr. Chairman, I yield back."