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Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WATT. I move to strike the last word.

The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from North Carolina is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, I don't come to the floor very often anymore to debate. I have kind of changed my pattern. Eighteen years ago, 19 years ago, when I saw egregious things, I would be right here in the heart of the debate, ranting and raving, some people would say.

When my colleagues and sometimes my constituents now ask me, Have you lost your passion, I tell them that there are some reasons that I don't come to the floor anymore. One is that I find that most of the time, my colleagues on the opposite side are tone deaf. They are not really listening to what anybody is saying to them. They are off on some radical right undertaking, falling off the right edge of the Earth, and they are not listening to anything I say.

They don't share my values, and they don't really care about this debate that we had, 3 hours of talking about women, infants, and children going hungry. They really don't much care about that, I say to my constituents. And, third, they just make up stuff. You know, they have this--you know, if we repeat it enough, it's got to be true, and we will convince the American people of about anything if we just keep saying it over and over again. Or they ..... have convenient memories that forget that it was President Bush----

The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman will suspend.

For what purpose does the gentleman from Nebraska rise?

Mr. FORTENBERRY. The gentleman has accused our side of the aisle of lying. Is that a cause for having his words taken down?

The Acting CHAIR. The Chair construes that as a demand that words be taken down. All Members will suspend. The gentleman will take his seat.

The Clerk will report the words.

[Time: 20:20]

Mr. WATT. Mr. Chairman, in the interest of time, some people have said that I called somebody a liar and, obviously, that would be in violation of the rules. I am aware of that. So if I did, I ask unanimous consent that those words be removed from the RECORD.

The Acting CHAIR. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from North Carolina?

There was no objection.

The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from North Carolina may proceed in order.

Mr. WATT. Can the Chair tell me how much time remains in my 5 minutes?

The Acting Chair. The gentleman from North Carolina has 3 minutes remaining of his 5 minutes.

Mr. WATT. All right. Well, let me try to pick up essentially where I was without offending anybody else.

There's some conveniently forgotten items that I think we need to be reminded of. Number 1, that it was President Bush who requested the government bailouts. That occurred on his watch. It was President Bush that was responsible for the tax cuts for the rich that got us out of surpluses as far as the eye could see and into this deficit spending. And it was rampant speculation and abuse of derivatives on Wall Street that resulted in a meltdown that made Dodd-Frank and the CFTC regulation that we're here debating necessary. Those are the three important things that I think we need to take note of.

It also resulted in a tremendous economic downturn that resulted in more people needing food stamps and the benefit of the WIC program. So these two things are really not disconnected from each other, the 3 hours of debate that we had previously and the debate on whether we are going to adequately fund the CFTC, which has been given authority under the Dodd-Frank legislation to rein in the speculation that is taking place that's driving up food prices, oil prices, and if we're not careful, will result in the same kind of economic meltdown that we experienced that got us into this in the first place.

So this whole process of being in denial about this and ignoring the facts is something that I think we should not countenance on this floor. We need the CFTC to regulate derivatives and speculation. And to the extent that we cut the staff and the funding of the CFTC, we could be replicating exactly what led President Bush to say we needed a bailout in the first place.

So, that's what this debate is all about. I think it's terrible that we are cutting funds under this bill for women, infants, and children, the most vulnerable in our society. But it's even more terrible that we are going to run the risk of allowing the same kind of rampant speculation, unregulated, to get us back into another meltdown that will result in our being back here trying to figure out how to dig ourselves out of this ditch. A year from now, 18 months from now, 2 years from now we'll be right back here again.

Now, this is not rocket science. It's all just connected to each other. And my colleagues can deny it all they want. They can say that this is about drilling for oil in the United States. That's not what it's about. All of the science I've seen says there's more supply of oil now than there is demand, and if we were operating in a regular domestic market on regular economics, the price of gas would be going down.

We need to regulate the CFTC. We need to have them regulating derivatives and speculation.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.


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