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Public Statements

Providing for Consideration of H.R. 1947, Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. DeLAURO. I rise in opposition to this rule and the underlying bill. It includes severe, immoral cuts to the food stamp program, slashing so deeply into nutrition support for hungry families at a time of great need all across this country. It is cruel, it is unnecessary, and it's an abdication of our responsibilities to the American people.

Over the past 30 years of policies aimed at debt and deficit reduction, the key programs that help the most vulnerable among us to get by have always been protected from deep cuts. Recent examples: Simpson-Bowles. This has been a bipartisan tradition for decades. But this FARRM Bill destroys that tradition.

This bill slashes food stamps by more than $20 billion. It hurts millions of Americans in our economy. It will force up to 2 million Americans to go hungry. It kicks roughly 210,000 children from the school lunch program, and it changes the relationship between the food stamp program and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which takes benefits away from seniors and from our families.

Let's make it clear: you cannot get food stamps unless you qualify for them. There is nothing automatic about it. Food stamps are our country's most important effort to deal with hunger here at home. Forty-seven million Americans are helped--half of them kids--and they are proven to curb hunger and improve low-income children's health, growth, and development. They have one of the lowest error rates of any government program. It's 3.8 percent.

I tell my colleague from Texas: Do you want to find money in this budget? Go to the crop insurance program, which is ripping off billions of dollars from U.S. taxpayers. That's where the money is, not where the program is to feed our kids.

Food stamps are good for the economy. They get resources into the hands of families who will spend them right away. And, most importantly, they are the right thing to do.

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Ms. DeLAURO. Let me quote the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:

We must form a ``circle of protection'' around programs that serve the poor and vulnerable in our Nation and throughout the world.

Harry Truman said:

Nothing is more important in our national life than the welfare of our children, and proper nourishment comes first in attaining this welfare.

Let's pursue a balanced approach. I urge my colleagues to vote against this rule. Vote against the underlying bill. Balancing the budget on the backs of hungry Americans, especially children, does not reflect the values of this great Nation, and it abdicates our moral responsibility in this Chamber.

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