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Public Statements

Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. YODER. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the Hahn amendment, which strikes a dagger in our efforts to protect our country, our homeland security, from threats to our food system, our agriculture system, and threats to the American people.

As horrific as it is to imagine, reports show that one of our greatest vulnerabilities is threats to our food supply, to agriculture. One doesn't have to stretch too far to think how mad cow disease or some other viral spread could grind our economy to a halt and strike fear in the hearts of all Americans. This simply cannot happen.

The Hahn amendment, which completely defunds 100 percent of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in this year's appropriations bill, would completely set us back, would make us very vulnerable to threats to our agricultural system from foreign-borne illness and those terrorists who would seek to injure and strike fear in the hearts of Americans.

Currently, our country lacks a biosafety level 4 lab needed to keep our food supply safe. Both Secretary Vilsack and Secretary Napolitano have stated that this is a priority, and it has bipartisan support within the administration. Both President Bush and President Obama have supported it. Homeland security is not a partisan issue. We're here today to do what we can to protect the American people.

I want to commend the chairman and the committee for their work in ensuring that the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility was properly funded and that we can move forward and continue to protect ourselves from terrorists around the world. I can assure us here today that terrorists are not sleeping. They are not waiting for this committee to debate. They're not waiting for conference committees. They're doing everything they can to strike fear in the hearts of Americans and disrupt our food supply.

This weakness is something that we can not continue to let go by. That's why I stand strongly against the Hahn amendment. It's dangerous for our national security. It's dangerous for the American people, and I ask the body to reject it this evening.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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