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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. LaMALFA Mr. Chairman, the changes made to SNAP are directed at reducing fraud, not at those in true need. And affecting inefficiencies that we've been dealing with for years, we have a chance to affect those inefficiencies right now in this year's farm bill, not 5 years from now.

Without the changes proposed by the committee, and made with bipartisan support, Congress tells the American people that taxpayers should support fraudulent payments. Are we seriously debating a 2 percent reduction that centers on fraud elimination and ensuring that those we help actually qualify?

This farm bill eliminates advertising for food stamps, eliminates recruitment bonuses and payments to lottery winners, all of which divert funds away from the program's actual goal. Any individual can apply or reapply by simply meeting the income and asset requirements. These are simple, commonsense reforms that save taxpayers billions and continue to protect those truly in need. I ask my colleagues to oppose this amendment.

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Mr. LaMALFA Mr. Chairman, I'm pleased to join my colleagues, Representatives HUDSON and YOHO, to again offer a commonsense amendment that will further assist in diminishing the abuse in the SNAP program.

This is a no-nonsense amendment. If you have enough money to buy drugs, you do not need taxpayer money to buy food. This amendment protects the taxpayer from directly subsidizing the purchase of drugs. Without this amendment, drug users will continue to use their money to buy drugs and your money to buy food.

This amendment gives States the ability to implement a drug screening program in the way that works best for them, but it needs to be part of the SNAP benefit qualification application. There are already 29 States that have proposals to do this, and eight States have already passed this type of legislation for this type of screening.

Letting drug users abuse the SNAP program diverts funds from those who truly need it. That's what we're about here. Of course, this is what taxpayers, when you talk to regular folks, this is the kind of thing they complain about around the kitchen table, like, ``Why are my tax dollars going towards this?'' If I had a dime for every time I've heard this.

People want this sort of thing to happen for those that are abusing this program. Taxpayers deserve better; the folks that really need the benefits of food stamps deserve better.

I ask for an ``aye'' vote on this amendment.

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Mr. LaMALFA I must rise in opposition to this amendment from my colleague from New York.

In my family, olive oil was something that was very heavily used, my being of Italian descent. We purchased it locally in northern California by vendors just right nearby, and we always got top quality oil. I think we need to have that same opportunity for everybody across the country, not just the opportunity to buy the oil, but to know that the advertising--the labeling of it--is correct. Unfortunately, much imported oil does not have to meet the same standards for labeling, either using European standards or ours, especially by the time it's shipped here.

So what we're looking for is not knocking out jobs or knocking out imported oil or any of that; it's just simply the truth in labeling that people would expect. When a label says ``extra virgin,'' then what should be in that container should be extra virgin. Unfortunately, much of it, by the time it gets here, is rancid. Maybe the label should say ``extra rancid.'' What we're after here is not to cause problems for our friends who would like to market it; it's more just the truth in advertising that's necessary. There shouldn't be anything to worry about if you're an importer if your oil is meeting that standard.

Reasonable standards can be worked out for what the testing is, so let's move forward with blocking this amendment for today and, instead, allowing for a good labeling standard to be put in place for American olive oil users whether the olive oil is domestic or imported. So I ask for people to deny this amendment today.

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