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Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008

Floor Speech

Location: Washington DC



Mr. JACKSON of Illinois. Mr. Chairman, let me first begin by congratulating the hardest-working Member of the Congress, Chairwoman ROSA DELAURO, for this outstanding bill.

Mr. Chairman, as a new member of the Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee, I rise to voice my strong support for H.R. 3161, the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. Again, I want to congratulate Chairwoman DeLauro and the subcommittee staff for the product here before us today. I also want to thank Ranking Member Kingston of the minority subcommittee staff for working with us to produce this product.

Over the past 8 months, I have learned a lot about agriculture policy. When asked why I serve on this subcommittee, considering my largely urban and suburban district, I quickly respond by saying this bill touches the lives of 647,000 residents of the Second District of Illinois. We all eat, we all want safe food, and we all want safe medicines.

With the recent passage of the Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act of 2007, our Nation's agriculture policy and spending reflects our growing investments not only in rural development and commodity programs but in nutrition, conservation, and renewable energy. We want to continue to support our farmers as well as feed the hungry, protect our Nation's food supply, and invest in research.

One out of five Americans at some point in time in their lives will participate in at least one domestic food assistance program. Our nutrition programs serve as the first line of defense against combating hunger by helping low-income families purchase food. This bill illustrates Congress's commitment to protecting our country's most vulnerable populations. It accomplishes the following:

It increases the Food Stamp Program by $1.7 billion and creates a $3 billion contingency reserve, which helps feed over 26 million people annually. It restores the President's proposed cuts to the Commodity Supplemental Food Program and expands the program that serves over 485,000 people monthly by adding five new States. It appropriates $5.6 billion to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children and restores State grants to help administer the program. It supports the expansion of the simplified summer school food program that provides up to two meals a day to children under the age of 18 during the summer.

This bill also addresses a wide variety of needs, ranging from increased grants and loans for rural communities to fully funding the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service.

The increases in this bill are sensible, they are prudent, they reflect our priorities, reinforcing our commitment to feed the hungry, to house the needy, and to protect us all.

I recommend that my colleagues vote against any amendments cutting these vital programs, and I strongly urge them to vote for this bill.


Mr. JACKSON of Illinois. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. JACKSON of Illinois. Mr. Chairman, I want to be clear. The gentlewoman may not be aware of it, but we have accepted this amendment. The majority has accepted Mr. Gingrey's first amendment for $50,000. The gentlewoman said that $50,000 is very important to her constituents. The majority has heard it. Therefore, we accept the amendment. I think we can dispose of this amendment and move forward.


Mr. JACKSON of Illinois. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time.

The gentlewoman's constituents should be very proud that we have accepted the amendment. The $50,000 that is so important to her constituents, to all Americans, has been accepted. We can dispose of this and move forward.

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