Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:  Debbie Stabenow
Date: June 13, 2012
Location: Washington, DC


Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, first of all, I strongly oppose this amendment and urge my colleagues to vote to table it.

I would agree with the Senator from Kentucky that nobody who wins the lottery should get food assistance, and we outright ban it in this bill. We outright ban a number of areas where there has been waste, fraud, and abuse. This bill does more on accountability on food assistance than we have seen in many years. But it also doesn't do what this amendment does, which is block grant funding, cut it, send it back to the States with no requirement it be used for people who truly need it.

I can tell you, coming from Michigan, I have people who have never before in their lives needed help with food assistance. They are mortified; they have paid taxes their whole life and they have never asked for help, but now that the plant has closed, they need some temporary help. Those folks are, on average, getting help for 10 months or less, and they deserve every dollar we can help them with.

I want to make sure that every single dollar goes where it should go. Waste, fraud, and abuse we tackle. But for somebody in this great country who has paid their taxes all their lives and worked all their lives and now needs help to put food on the table for the balance of the month, they need to know we are going to provide a little bit of temporary help.

This amendment is outrageous and would go completely against the commitment we as a country have made to help those who truly need it. I urge we vote yes to table this amendment.


Ms. STABENOW. Thank you very much. To emphasize what the leader indicated earlier, isn't it true that while we are moving forward step by step--before we get a larger universal agreement--as he has said, the leader is open to work with me, Senator Roberts, and Members on both sides of the aisle to get a larger list in the range in which the distinguished Senator from Oklahoma has talked about and certainly a list which we would begin to move through?

But while we are doing that, rather than just biding time on the floor, this gives Members an opportunity to debate on issues they care deeply about and continue to move forward.

In fact, is it the leader's desire that we do this and that we are in the process of putting together that larger universe of amendments?


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