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Public Statements

Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. President, I will be very brief, recognizing the other urgent business the Senate needs to address, but I did want to associate myself with the remarks of the very able and capable chairwoman of the agriculture committee, Senator Stabenow.

We have a disaster in the making. It is called the farm bill. Months ago this body passed a comprehensive farm bill recognizing a 50-year compromise, a 50-year association of nutrition assistance with the ability to provide disaster assistance to our farmers in this country. For 50 years that effort has served us very well.

Today and this week in the House of Representatives, they will do something that is unprecedented in 50 years: They will segregate, pass separate bills, and do a disservice to struggling, unemployed, underemployed American families; that is, dramatically reduce the food stamp allocation.

Food stamps are there when people need them in the same way that farm disaster payments are there when farmers need them. Anyone who thinks someone is living high on the hog, so to speak, on food stamps needs to spend time with people who are trying to make it work and feed their families on $1.40 per meal.

We know that with a recovering economy we are going to see a dwindling number of those folks move on. Yet we see this move almost in a way that is going to challenge this long-term relationship that has basically enabled a great partnership between many of our urban and rural legislators, Senators, and Members of the House of Representatives, but also something that speaks to a very important value we have, which is that kids ought not to go hungry in this country. That is not who we are. We are not a country that allows children and families who are working, in many cases, to go hungry. And when they need that help, that temporary help they have been receiving, they ought to get it because it makes sense. It makes them better citizens, and it makes them better students. It tells us that, yes, when times are very tough--as they have been for so many American families--we will be there.

Let's not let this happen. Let's fight back. Let's continue to have this conversation, and let's pass a comprehensive farm bill that recognizes the need to feed people as well as provide disaster assistance for farmers.

I yield the floor.

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