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Public Statements

Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. PETERSON. Madam Chair, in closing, I want to thank my colleagues for their statements. I represent the biggest sugar-producing area in the country, and I agree with what has been said by my colleagues.

People need to understand that every country that produces sugar in the world has some intervention in the sugar market. For us to unilaterally disarm, all we are going to do is give away our jobs and our industry to other countries. We import sugar from 41 countries, sugar that we could make in the United States. Fifteen percent of our market we have given to other people. We have opened up the market to Mexico, and yet we haven't had a no-net-cost program until this year when sugar prices collapsed, which is not our fault. It's what's going on in Brazil and other places. So, for people to be complaining that sugar prices are too high when, right now, they're about as low as they've ever been is kind of crazy.

I ask my colleagues to reject this amendment and to continue a policy that works--that's good for America, that's good for the farmers, that's good for the workers, and that's good for the economy.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. PETERSON. Mr. Chairman, I'm going to take 30 seconds right now, and then I'm going to reserve because I'm ahead.

But I just need to stand up and say that this is not true. Scott Brown put out a study on this bill, and they said the effect of this was going to be a half a cent a gallon, maybe a couple of cents a gallon. So where they're coming up with this 30 cents or 50 cents, I have no idea. This is complete fabrication that's made up out of something that I don't know where it comes from.

So people need to understand that. Scott Brown is probably the most respected economist in dairy in the country, and he did not say it was 30 cents or 50 cents.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. PETERSON. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman.

I rise in opposition to this amendment.

If you like the Department of Labor's overreach on child labor when they prevented 4-H kids from helping mom and dad on the farm, you're going to love this amendment. What this amendment does is it puts bureaucrats in charge of deciding who is a farmer and who isn't.

When we put this AGI test on, they developed 430 pages of regulations to try to figure out how to implement that. If this amendment passes, I would be hard-pressed to figure out how many pages of regulations they're going to come up with to try to figure out whether you're actually a farmer or not.

We're changing this ``actively engaged'' definition, which we've been struggling with for years, and which I think we did a pretty good job with in 2008, putting in new requirements, new tests, stuff that we really don't understand how it's going to work. I think it is just going to totally screw up the safety net, especially for our friends in the South that have a different situation than we do up in my part of the world.

This is an overreach. It's getting into areas that we've never done before with payment limitations at a time when we're changing these programs. We don't really even understand how this would work, other than to know it's going to really screw things up.

I would strongly urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment.

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Mr. PETERSON. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to this amendment.

We have worked this out between the chairman and myself and this is breaking the deal that we had. I would say a vote for this amendment is a vote against the farm bill, so oppose it.

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Mr. PETERSON. I thank the gentlelady, and I strongly oppose this amendment.

This amendment breaks the deal that we had and is offensive in the way that it treats the unemployed in this country.

In short what this proposal does is it takes money from benefits and hands it over to the States, and they can do with it what they want, as was said earlier in the debate, with no strings attached, no accountability.

This Republican Congress has been vocal in support of block grants, and I suppose that's why they're supporting this amendment. But I'd like to point out that it was block-granting that is the very reason that we got into the LIHEAP situation and the categorical eligibility situation that we're trying to attempt in this bill.

Vote ``no'' on this amendment.

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