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

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Chairman, let me yield myself 1 minute, and maybe somebody will percolate and maybe they won't.

I wanted to make a comment. Mr. Hensarling had noticed that the earmarks were down. I think this is a good thing. I think that our job is going to have to be to make sure the earmarks stay down as this thing goes through the process, but I also think we need to be concerned about what can happen that will add costs to this bill.

It's interesting we just had a bill that had about 50 people vote against it. It was a popular bill that created a number of new programs, and I was thinking that so often on appropriation bill there's always a standard 100 to 150 people who vote "no,'' and yet here was an authorizing bill, suddenly it's okay to spend money on an authorizing bill because it doesn't count. But on an appropriation bill, those same people who voted ``yes'' an hour ago will be voting "no'' on the appropriation bill, except for Mr. Hensarling, who's pretty consistent on everything.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Chairman, I think I have one more in the wing. So let me again enlighten you with some of my wisdom, if I may yield myself 1 minute.

One of the amendments that we have been working on in this bill is the insistence that those who sell or contract to the Federal Government use Social Security verification. There's a program called the Basic Pilot Program, and we have that amendment in the bill.

I think it's important people realize that the idea is that if you're doing business with the Federal Government you should be in compliance with the law of the land, which is to have legal employees; and what this does is requires those vendors and sales corporations and contractors and subcontractors to show that they are in compliance by having Social Security verification.

I'm excited about this amendment. I think it's very important. President Clinton actually did the same thing February 13, 1996, by executive order; and I am hoping that if there's some problems with this amendment that as this bill moves through the process we may need to tinker with it a little bit but that we can keep the gist of it.

Mr. Chairman, we have no more speakers around, and I yield back my time.


Mr. KINGSTON. I thank the gentlewoman for the time.

I want to say this is a major policy change. That is why we are here debating it. It is unfortunate we don't have a full Chamber. But the reason that I offer this amendment is because I think we should have the floor engaged on it, and we will have that opportunity tonight.

Number two, people are doing this. There are 1 to 3 million people who are buying Canadian drugs and drugs from other countries right now. If we are interested in safety, we will find a way to make this safe. This is a country that just invented the iFone, the iPod, the navigation system, and all this stuff. We can figure out how to make these drugs safe.

Finally, as Ms. Kaptur said, these are certified drugs made in the United States in most cases.


Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Chairman I yield myself 45 seconds.

Mr. Chairman, we are at a time right now when people are paying $3.10 for gas, $3.30 a gas. Gas is on the rise, and our options are limited. We are importing 60 percent of our oil.

It is ironic that on an Ag policy where 2 percent of the population is feeding all 100 percent, if we were importing 50 percent of our food, it would be a national security crisis, and yet oil, which is just as important, we are importing 60 percent of it.

During this time when we are in desperate need for alternative energy options, we should not increase the price of making cellulosic ethanol. And yet in the Ag bill, there was a clause that says if you are building an ethanol plant, you have to have prevailing wages, which drives up the cost of the plant and, therefore, drives up the cost of ethanol.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 1 1/4 minutes.

I wanted to say what we are talking about here is if a business goes and gets a loan, then the government, because it is a government loan, turns around then and basically dictates what they have to pay, and what they have to pay is a higher wage than it is in most communities. Otherwise, the Democrats would not be putting it in here. If this was about free enterprise, this clause would not be in the farm bill.

And my biggest gripe is that it is making energy costs go up because it is making the construction of alternative energy facilities higher. As Mr. King says, it is about a 20 percent bump in the cost of construction of a cellulosic ethanol plant. That's why I think it is a concern.

Who is going to pay for this? The consumers at the pump. And, in the meantime, there might be fewer alternatives.

In Georgia right now my good friend, Mr. Scott, knows we have three ethanol plants on the books, another two coming, and potentially 70 to 80 that will be built in the next 2 to 3 years. Now those are not all cellulosic ethanol plants, but why should we increase the cost of those?

I am excited about this because it does represent a new avenue in alternative fuels, and I don't think we should make anything increase the cost of that.


r. KINGSTON. I thank the gentleman from Ohio for yielding.

I want to say that I support this for two reasons. Number one, this bill will be vetoed by the President should it make it through the United States Senate, which is doubtful to begin with, but that's nothing we can control over here. But we know the President has sent out a veto message that the spending level is too high.

We have debated this in committee before. I offered a similar amendment that failed. But I think we need to be realistic. The bill that we're spending tonight is not realistic.

Number two, I want to point out something. This is actually not a 5.5 percent cut because it's not an $18 billion bill. It's really a $90 billion bill. However, because of what I would call negligence on the part of the House, practiced by Republicans and Democrats over the years, we have decided to put about three-quarters of this bill on automatic spending. We call it mandatory. Now, nothing is mandatory when you make the laws. Nothing is mandatory. So it's kind of lazy. It's just sort of ``spend as is.''

And my friend from Connecticut has said that the gentleman from Ohio's amendment would actually take the nutrition and food programs away from children, yet most of them fall into this red category, which isn't even touched by his amendment.

His amendment is actually very conservative. It only affects about the $18 billion portion of this bill. And again, that's not where most of these food programs are, these critical programs. Now, I'm a believer that we should be debating both the red and the yellow portions of this bill and look at it realistically because this is a $90 billion bill, and the 5.5 percent only affects $18 billion.

And with that, I want to say that's why I think that it is important for us to always look into the authorizing side of a spending bill and the discretionary side.

I do support the amendment. And we have had this amendment, a similar amendment, in committee already. My friends on the committee have known my position on this.

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