SUPPORT FOOD SECURITY FOR AMERICANS; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 80
(House of Representatives - May 16, 2018)

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[Pages H3982-H3983]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                  SUPPORT FOOD SECURITY FOR AMERICANS

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Costa) for 5 minutes.
  Mr. COSTA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to discuss the situation we are 
currently facing regarding the House version of the farm bill.
  The House farm bill, traditionally, for over 40 years, is one of the 
most bipartisan things that we do here in Congress, Democrats working 
with Republicans throughout the various regions of America. This is the 
third farm bill that I have had the opportunity to participate in, 
working together.
  So where are we today? We are exactly where we should not be. We are 
facing a vote this week on a partisan farm bill that is both, in my 
view, bad policy and divides us even further as a country. This bill 
does not promote or demonstrate the successful programs, I think, 
necessary to strengthen our trade in the agricultural sectors across 
the country.
  America trades throughout the world, and our agricultural economy is 
dependent, in large degree, on our ability to produce more food than we 
can consume; and, therefore, trade becomes very important.
  American agriculture needs a farm bill that supports and promotes not 
only trade, but, now perhaps more than ever with looming escalation of 
a trade war sparked by the administration's efforts with steel and 
aluminum, we see tariffs taking place on a host of products grown in 
the Midwest--sorghum, corn, and wheat--and in California potential 
increases in beef and pistachios and almonds. So that doesn't fare 
well.
  This version of the farm bill also does not adequately support the 
dairy safety net. Of course, our dairy economy is big throughout the 
Midwest and in California, actually, the largest dairy State in the 
Nation. Nor does it do enough for our specialty crop farmers who grow 
the fresh fruits and vegetables that are a part of a healthy diet. 
California grows half of the Nation's fruits and vegetables.
  This bill also proposes to make changes to the Supplemental Nutrition 
Assistance Program, otherwise known as SNAP, which will likely 
devastate parts of the food program that are working well. This, after 
all, is America's safety net, and we have a lot of not only children 
and elderly, but people who are disabled who depend and rely on these 
important food nutrition programs.
  We do all believe that able-bodied people should be working, and all 
of us have the same goal in ensuring that those able-bodied people are 
self-sufficient. If we want people to become self-reliant, let's give 
them a SNAP program that does just that.

  We have 10 pilot projects in 10 different States that are working, 
and they are to report back next year on what best works to get able-
bodied people working and what doesn't work. But this proposal in this 
House version is doomed to failure, and the House CBO has scored it 
accordingly. Instead, it will likely cause our SNAP education to create 
training programs that will collapse, costing billions of dollars, 
creating a new Federal bureaucracy that was never given a chance to 
succeed.
  We should not be in this position, Mr. Speaker.
  Where should we be? We should be working together, as we have with 
previous farm bills, Democrats and Republicans, deliberate, 
negotiating, and, yes, even disagreeing over ideas and approaches, but 
coming together with important compromises.
  The farm bill is America's food bill. It is also a national security 
item. People don't think about it that way, but the ability to produce 
all for America's dinner table every night the most healthy, nutritious 
food in the world is a national security issue, I believe.
  Therefore, we must support our food security and safety for our 
fellow Americans. Our Nation's food policy must feed Americans and 
ensure our

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farmers, our ranchers, and our dairy producers can all be successful.

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  It should not serve some and abandon others, and it should not 
further divide us as a country.
  As I have said, this is the third farm bill that I have had the 
privilege to work on. We have worked through these differences in the 
past, and we have worked through the challenges. It is my hope that 
Congress can do this again. But it will not happen if we allow the 
partisan arm-twisting to ram this bad policy through the House.
  A vote against the House version of the farm bill is a vote for 
something better, which is the Senate version, where they are working 
together, traditionally, in a bipartisan fashion--that is what we 
should be doing--and not engaging in these partisan games that create 
bad policy.
  Therefore, a vote against the current bill on the House version is 
one that is a good vote, and it is one that protects our past farm 
policies as they have worked. A ``no'' vote is a vote for more support 
for our farmers and for our families. It is demanding that Congress do 
better because we can, and we must, do better.
  The Senate version is currently the version that I think, ultimately, 
is going to succeed. I look forward to continue working with our 
colleagues on the other side--Republicans and Democrats--who are 
fostering a bipartisan bill--Senator Roberts and Senator Stabenow.
  I look forward to moving past this version of the farm bill so that 
we can set aside this outrageous effort in partisan politics and get 
back to work on America's food bill, a national security issue, to be 
sure.

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