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

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. HOLDEN. Madam Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.

The CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the following new section:

Sec. __. Each amount made available by this Act (other than an amount required to be made available by a provision of law) is hereby reduced by 5.88 percent and may not be used to carry out the limitations contained in paragraphs (1) through (8) of section 728.

The CHAIR. The gentleman from Pennsylvania is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. HOLDEN. Madam Chair, what my amendment will do is restore the $1 billion in cuts to mandatory conservation programs in the underlying bill. Almost half of the total cuts in this piece of legislation come from mandatory conservation programs. That's the largest cut in history.

Madam Chair, specifically in this bill there are $210 million in cuts in the Conservation Steward Program; $350 million in cuts in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program; $50 million in cuts in Farmland Protection Program; 96,000 acres reduced in the Grassland Reserve Program; 64,200 acres reduced in the Wetland Reserve Program; and $35 million of reductions in Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program.

Madam Chair, to make this budget-neutral as it is scored by the CBO, it is paid for with a 5.88 percent across-the-board cut in discretionary spending in the bill, including the $102 million already reduced in discretionary conservation programs in the bill.

Madam Chair, this is shared sacrifice as opposed to not shared sacrifice in the overwhelming, significant reduction of $1 billion in mandatory discretionary programs.

Madam Chair, in the farm bill we worked very hard in a bipartisan manner to get the investment in conservation that our producers need all across the country, and they need it now more than ever as they are under significant danger and peril from regulatory agencies, particularly the EPA. They need these conservation programs so they can stay in compliance and they can do the job that they do so well in producing our agriculture all across the country.

This is a bipartisan bill. I am honored to be the ranking member on the Conservation Subcommittee and to be joined by the chairman of the subcommittee, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Thompson). And I urge adoption of the amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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