OPPOSITION TO H.R. 2; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 83
(Extensions of Remarks - May 21, 2018)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E699-E700]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                          OPPOSITION TO H.R. 2


                      HON. BRADLEY SCOTT SCHNEIDER

                              of illinois

                    in the house of representatives

                          Monday, May 21, 2018

  Mr. SCHNEIDER. Mr. Speaker, I rise today regarding votes I missed on 
May 18, 2018 to attend my son's college graduation. Had I been present, 
I would have voted Yes on Roll Call vote number 202, the Roskam/
Blumeneaur Amendment, and No on Roll Call vote numbers 200 Russell 
Amendment, 201 Massie Amendment, and 203 Banks Amendment. I also missed 
Roll Call vote number 205 on final passage of H.R. 2, the Agriculture 
and Nutrition Act. Had I been present, I would have voted No on final 
  Last year, more than 1.8 million Illinois residents relied on the 
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) during a time of 
need--from families and children to seniors and individuals with 
disabilities. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities projects that 
more than two million people would have their benefits reduced or lost 
entirely as a result of this Farm Bill, an outcome that is both immoral 
and unacceptable. SNAP leads to better health outcomes by reducing the 
impact of food insecurity, and leads to better education outcomes for 
children because kids learn better when they are not hungry. 
Furthermore, this bill's proposal to eliminate Broad Based Categorical 
Eligibility means as many as 265,000 more hungry children in 
classrooms, worrying about their next meal rather than focusing on 
their lessons. The proposals in this bill--from its eligibility 
requirements that do not reflect the nature of work in today's economy, 
to the massive untested oversight bureaucracy it would establish--leave 
working families with fewer benefits that are more difficult to use. I 
cannot, and do not support these proposals.
  In addition to the nutrition title, I strongly oppose this Farm Bill 
because it recklessly shortchanges conservation programs that protect 
our natural treasures, such as the Great Lakes. Eliminating successful 
programs like the Conservation Stewardship Program risks increasing 
agricultural runoff and backsliding on progress we have made. This bill 
is also a missed opportunity, failing to make robust investments in 
rural communities facing the opioid crisis and aging infrastructure. As 
well, the bill fails to bolster federal funding and resources for one 
of the fastest growing sectors of American agriculture, organics, which 
represents nearly $50 billion in annual sales. By eliminating the 
National Organic Cost-Share Program, this bill makes it unnecessarily 
harder and more expensive for farmers to transition to organic crops. 
Finally, this bill makes extreme changes to laws protecting animal 
welfare, including a provision that could nullify state laws ensuring 
animal welfare in agricultural production. States must be able to enact 
animal welfare laws that reflect their values.
  Historically, the Farm Bill has been a bipartisan cause--offering 
assistance and security to farmers and families in need in a way that 
both Democrats and Republicans can support. I am deeply disappointed 
that the Majority has discarded that approach this year in the pursuit 
of ideological cuts to our nation's social safety net. In its current 
extreme form, this bill is dead-on-arrival in the Senate. In the days 
ahead, I urge my colleagues to work across the aisle to find a way 
forward in the constructive, bipartisan manner we have in the past.
  I am opposed to H.R. 2, which hurts working families in my district 
and undermines successful federal programs that promote conservation, 
research, and help for rural communities and would have voted against 
this harmful bill had I been present.

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