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Public Statements

Providing for Consideration of H.R. 2642, Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. DeLAURO. Mr. Speaker, a vote for this bill is a vote to end nutrition programs in America. Members on the other side of the aisle have already expressed that this morning. Imagine referring to the nutrition title of the farm bill as extraneous--extraneous. Dealing with hunger, dealing with people who have fallen on those hard times, dealing with their food insecurity and their being hungry and kids going to bed hungry every night in this Nation is extraneous. But that says it all. That tells you where their values are.

Before we consider the content of this legislation, take a minute to review what just has happened. Shortly before 8 p.m. last night, the majority posted a 608-page bill online and announced a meeting at 9 to consider the bill. The majority violated their own rule of allowing at least 3 days to review legislation before a vote.

I have a copy of the bill right here. This is the bill--608 pages. Have my colleagues read all of the 608 pages? Have they taken the time to know what is in it? Do they understand that in 2014, in fact, that what they have done adds to the deficit? No.

Instead, we are recklessly pushing forward this partisan bill designed to inflict great harm. And even more pernicious is the substance of this bill, which throws millions of American families aside. This removes the entire nutrition title from the farm bill with no indication that the majority intends to take up those programs in the near future.

Let's be clear about what this means. Food stamps are the critical central strand of our social safety net--our country's most important effort to deal with hunger--helping over 47 million Americans: nearly half of them are children; 99 percent of recipients live below the poverty line; and 75 percent of households receiving this aid include a child, a senior citizen, or an individual with a disability. These are the individuals and the people that this Republican majority has just called extraneous. They are not extraneous.

The bill before us would mean the death knell of the food stamp program and the other nutrition programs that have been part of the farm bill for decades. This bill is immoral, and it is a serious risk to our society.

532 farm groups sent the Speaker a letter opposing the splitting off of nutrition programs. Bishop Stockton and other religious leaders wrote a letter calling food stamps ``one of the most effective and important Federal programs to combat hunger in the Nation,'' and ``a crucial part of the farm bill,'' relieving ``pressure on overwhelmed parishes, charities, food banks, pantries, and other emergency food providers.'' Yet this bill provides the way to gut the food stamp program.

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Ms. DeLAURO. Historically, the farm bill has been a safety net for farmers and families. It has enjoyed bipartisan support up until now until this majority has rent that support asunder.

A vote for this bill is a vote to end nutrition programs in America, to break the longstanding bipartisan compact that the farm bill represented for decades. It takes food out of the mouths of hungry children, seniors, veterans, and the disabled. It is immoral. These people are not extraneous.

I urge my colleagues to reject this bill.

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