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Mr. McGOVERN. Madam Chair, I want to begin by thanking the chairman of the Ag Committee, Mr. Lucas, and the ranking member, Mr. Peterson, for their hard work. There have been countless hours on this bill, and so have their staffs. I appreciate their dedication.
I very much want to support a farm bill, so it is with deep regret that I come to the floor to say that I cannot support this farm bill. The main reason is because of the $20.5 billion cut in the SNAP program. That is too much, that is too harsh. Two million people will lose their benefits. Over 200,000 kids will be knocked out of the free breakfast and lunch program. Those aren't my statistics or a liberal think tank's statistics; that's what CBO says, the Congressional Budget Office. What happens to these 2 million people? Where do they go? Where do they get food? The fact of the matter is food is not a luxury, it is a necessity.
There are some who have said that all we are doing is reforming SNAP and we are dealing with the rising costs. If we were truly reforming SNAP, I would feel better about it if we held at least one hearing on it in the subcommittee.
In terms of dealing with rising costs, the best way to deal with that is to invest in our economy and put people back to work. When more people go to work, the number of people on SNAP goes down. It's countercyclical. That's how you decrease spending on SNAP.
Madam Chair, we have 50 million people in this country who are hungry--17 million are kids. We all should be ashamed. We ought to be having a discussion on how to end hunger in America. SNAP is one tool in the antihunger toolbox to end hunger. We need to have a broader discussion. But I can say with certainty that cutting SNAP by $20.5 billion will not alleviate hunger in America. It will cause more pain, more suffering, and more misery.
I want a farm bill that not only helps our farmers but moves us toward a day where we no longer have hunger in America. Unfortunately, this bill as written will make hunger worse.
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