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Public Statements

Providing for Consideration of Southeast Arizona Land Exchange Act, Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act, and Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman for yielding the time, and I want to thank him for devoting his entire political career to the idea of eradicating hunger in American society and around the world, an outstanding record of achievement, an outstanding record of compassion. And then today, it runs into the Republican reality.

I know how you must feel, Mr. McGovern, after all these years of work, to see them cavalierly suggest that they can cut $40 billion in nutrition benefits to families, to children, to working people, to people searching for work, and that somehow nobody will lose their benefits, that somehow they're not throwing anybody off of the program. It's not that we said, you are throwing people off the program. It's that the Congressional Budget Office said that with the $40 billion cut, some 3.8 million people would lose their benefits and an average of nearly 3 million people each year over the coming decade. Over the coming decade, those people will lose their benefits.

What does that mean? I specialize in education. I visit schools almost every week. I talk to teachers every day that tell me about the fact that when children come there that they are nutritionally deprived, that they may not have had dinner, that they may not have had breakfast, that they are not attentive in class, that they fall asleep in class, that they're irritable. And we're going to cut the benefits to these children. And yet we want these children to perform at a high level. And they should be able to perform at a high level. We expect them to achieve in school.

But that's not what this program is about. This program is about cutting those benefits to those children in need. It's about cutting those benefits to those families in need. It's just unconscionable that they would think that somehow this is the road to prosperity, that you get to the road to prosperity by attacking the most vulnerable in our society who are in desperate need of these nutritional benefits for their families. Do they not know that one in five children lives in a home that experiences hunger on a regular basis?

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.

Mr. McGOVERN. I yield the gentleman an additional 30 seconds.

Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Do they not know this? Are they not aware of it? Or do they not care? Somebody has to answer that question. Because when this Nation was shocked that they were going to cut $20 billion out of these nutritional benefits for these struggling families and individuals, they came back and said, No, we're going to cut $40 billion out of these benefits. What, because they're angry that the last measure didn't succeed? They're angry about what happened to the Agriculture bill? Is it because of anger that they're striking out at these families?

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has again expired.

Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. It shouldn't be that way in this country, and it shouldn't be that way in this Congress. These families are entitled to better. They are entitled to jobs. They are entitled to provide for their families, but some can't.

Those wonderful 60 months stripped trillions of dollars away from these families and middle class families in this country.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Members are advised to heed the gavel.

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