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Public Statements

Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the so-called Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act.

This bill is anything but disaster assistance agriculture. It is a bill by Republican leadership to provide cover for not bringing up a real farm bill.

Farmers and ranchers do not need a temporary disaster bill--they need a farm bill that provides disaster assistance but so farmers and ranchers can make sound future business decisions.

Republicans often say uncertainty about ``regulation'' is harming the economy.

Yet here we are considering a temporary measure when American agriculture needs certainty.

It is ironic we are here considering a temporary measure that creates uncertainty because about a year ago the United States' credit rating was downgraded. Why? Republicans created uncertainty in the financial markets during the debt ceiling debacle.

By taking up temporary disaster aid and not a farm bill, Republicans must want to downgrade American agriculture.

This bill kicks the can down the road, as Republicans have done far too often.

The House should stay and do the people's work instead of running off on a recess.

We won't stay though, because Republicans refuse to compromise with Democrats on paying the bills due and now the farm bill languishes.

This refusal shows us that Republicans are not serious about a farm bill or deficit reduction, creating jobs and growing our economy.

If Republicans were serious about deficit reduction, they would bring up one of two farm bills that are out there.

While neither bill is perfect, the Senate farm bill would reduce the deficit by $23 billion and the House farm bill cut spending by $35 billion.

If Republicans were serious about creating jobs and growing the economy, they would bring up a farm bill.

Just one Title of the farm bill, the energy title, has the potential to generate $88.5 billion in economic activity and create nearly 700,000 jobs.

Finally, I oppose this temporary disaster bill not only because it shows lack of leadership in passing a farm bill but because of its shortsightedness in slashing conservation programs.

I represent Lake Erie, which is part of the Great Lakes region that is responsible for more than 1.5 million jobs and generates $62 billion in wages.

Lake Erie is under assault by a massive bloom of algae that is turning the water into a bright green pea soup.

The substance is enough to kill a pet dog, and makes people seriously ill. As the summer goes on, the stench will drive tens of thousands of tourists and local residents inside with closed windows.

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Conservation Stewardship Program are two of the most effective programs in helping farmers and ranchers do their part to help reduce nutrient runoff fueling the algae bloom.

Cutting these programs are penny wise and pound-foolish.

I urge my colleagues to oppose this bill. Let's pass a real farm bill.


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