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Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act of 2012

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. DAVID SCOTT of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, first of all, I want to commend the bipartisan leadership on this committee, Chairman Lucas and the ranking member, Mr. Peterson, for the hard work they have done and the leadership they've provided.

We are faced with sort of a dilemma here. The right thing for us to do, that we should be doing right now, that we should have been doing 2 or 3 days ago, was dealing with the 5-year extension of the farm bill. That is exactly what we need to be doing. It gives consistency. It will give uniformity to our very vital food industry. I might add, Mr. Speaker, that it is needed very desperately at this time.

But at the same time, we are faced with a very serious drought situation that is pummeling our country, the likes of which we haven't seen in over 60 years. So the immediate and responsible thing for us to do is to respond to this drought crisis and pass this bill immediately and then resolve that the first order of business we will do when we return is take up the 5-year farm bill.

Might I add that while we have this disaster facing us, which is the drought, we have another, and that is the food issue in this country, especially the issue of the SNAP program, what we refer to as the food stamp program, if we do not come together with a good conference committee report that looks at this issue with the necessity that the problem presents.

Under the current bill on the House side passed by the Agriculture Committee, according to CBO, there will be over 300,000 children who will go without food. There will be 155,000 veterans who will go without food, and nearly 200,000 of our seniors. What I'm saying is we have not just a drought crisis, which we are going to respond to today, but we have got to come back and deal with this other crisis as we work to put together a very effective 5-year farm bill.

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