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Public Statements

Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act Of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ROBERTS. Very quickly, we all wear coats and ties in this body. This amendment would put us in lab coats. Don't wear a lab coat. Vote ``no'' on this amendment.


Mr. ROBERTS. Madam President, when you go back home or if you conduct a press conference or if you have any contact with anybody about what we are doing here in Washington, the No. 1 question is: Why can't you all get along? Why can't you quit pointing fingers of blame? Why can't you end the rhetoric? Why can't you work together? Why can't you get something done?

We knew we had something special when we had a farm bill and the current farm bill was going to expire and you would go back to a farm bill that nobody wanted, or the 1949 act, which is ridiculous, and that we had to move. Farmers and ranchers and their lenders and everybody concerned with agribusiness knew we had to have a farm bill.

We went to work and we got a 16-to-5 vote out of committee, it was bipartisan, and we did it in 4 1/2 hours. That set a record. I don't know of any time where in an Agriculture Committee, House or Senate, that it has been moved in 4 1/2 hours.

Now 2 1/2 days, with 73 amendments, opening it up to everybody regardless of circumstance, regardless if they voted for the bill or not? That is what we have accomplished--2 1/2 days, 73 amendments. It is what can happen if we break the logjam of partisanship and work together to get something done. A tremendous amount of credit goes to the leadership of the Senator from Michigan. I feel very privileged to have worked with her and to work with her staff. They have been like Musketeers, every night, every morning, meeting: What can we do; how can we fix this?

It has worked. So after 2 1/2 days and 73 amendments I thank you all for your patience. If anybody did not get an amendment, I am terribly sorry, I don't know how I missed you; consequently, on that side as well.

Let me say again, $23 billion provided in deficit reduction through reduced mandatory spending. The chairwoman is right, this is probably the only time on the Senate floor we will actually have a reduction in Federal spending and make our deficit contribution.

This is a good bill. Is it the best possible bill? No, it is the best bill possible. We should move it and we should vote for it. I urge you to vote for it.

I yield.


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