May 21, 2018 - Issue: Vol. 164, No. 83 — Daily Edition115th Congress (2017 - 2018) - 2nd Session
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 passage. 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. [[Page E700]] ____________________