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Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. FARR. Thank you very much for yielding.

I rise in strong opposition to the $19.405 billion allocation that our Subcommittee on Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration-related agencies received, but I rise in support of the rule for moving this process forward with a great floor debate.

The allocation given to our committee is $1.7 billion, or 8 percent, below what the President requested; and it is $365 million, or 1.8 percent, below what we enacted in the House last year, in 2012.

Chairman Kingston, my colleague on the Republican side of the aisle and chair of our committee, does a great job. He has talked about how we have savings that have been found and that, in tough budgetary times, everybody has got to tighten his belt. We all know that, but it's about the cost of tightening those belts and about those who depend on those programs which, in many ways, are their survival. I feel several programs have been cut so deeply that people will either be unable or will have difficulty in performing the duties of those programs.

This bill slashes Food for Peace by 22 percent. Let me be crystal clear about what this cut means. Mr. McGovern just spelled it out very clearly. It's the wrong thing to do. It means 6 million to 8 million people will face starvation--6 million to 8 million people. Cutting food aid only increases the need to bump up other, more costly efforts later on. It means that 44,000 Americans who produce that food could be losing their jobs. Those include farmers, the shippers of food, processors, port workers, and merchant mariners, who ship it across the seas.

In another example, 41 percent is being cut from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission--41 percent. That's misguided and shows a lack of understanding of its oversight responsibilities. A failure to fund robust oversight will only hurt American taxpayers. The CFTC is charged with the oversight of unregulated swaps at $300 trillion a year--$300 trillion of these swaps--and it is grossly unregulated.

This regulatory oversight protects the American taxpayer and reckless Wall Street behavior that caused the 2008 financial crisis. We all know that reckless Wall Street behavior led to the collapse of the housing market, which is still dragging down economic growth in all of our communities across America. We in Congress need to restore the people's confidence in our ability to govern and to regulate Wall Street and to benefit Main Street. We in Congress need to restore the CFTC funding.

Remember, too, that the FDA, which is the Food and Drug Administration, oversees 80 percent of our Nation's food supply, including food for more than 3,000 facilities in 200 countries around the world.

I appreciate the effort here to bump up food safety modernization implementation. However, the total Food and Drug Administration is funded at $16 million under what we gave them last year, and $31 million below what was requested for this year.

As you know, in addition to overseeing most of our food supply, it is responsible for the safety of drugs and medical devices, many of which are imported to the United States.

In closing, I do think that Chairman Kingston made a good effort in crafting this bill, given the allocation he had to deal with. I support this rule and continue to work with him as we move forward on this bill. Let's have a good hearty debate and adopt some amendments to correct it.


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