tv U.S. House of Representatives U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN May 16, 2018 3:59pm-6:00pm EDT
veterans. before i finish, i also want to thank the staffs on both sides of the aisle, both in the senate and in the house, both republican and democrat, for the incredible hard work that they have done, the many hours behind the scenes that you never see, that the public never sees, that i certainly appreciate. and i believe running backing member walz does too. the -- ranking member walz does too. the hard work our staffs have done. a vote is a vote for access, for quality, a yes vote is a vote for access, for quality, for choice, for the long-term success and sustainability of the v.a. health care system, for caregivers and for veterans. and for that, i would recommend a positive yes vote. the mission act is supported by every major military and veterans' service organization who rightfully recognize this as a monumental and historic opportunity to support a bill that would possibly impact the daily lives and well-being of millions of veterans and their families.
and fundamentally shape and improve the second largest agency in the federal government. i urge every single one of my colleagues to stand today with me and these organizations dedicated to the service of veterans, service members and their families, and most importantly, our nation's veterans, and support the mission act. i also ask, mr. speaker, that the v.s.o. letter of support be inserted into the record and with that, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from minnesota is recognized. >> i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. >> i would like to say the chairman's description of thousand process was done is 100% accurate. mr. walz: the sense of dignity and respect given to minority
side in dissenting opinions from the chairman and his staff was exemplary and what we should expect from our leadership. this is a piece of legislation that has components that have been with me or been on my mind or things i have tried to effect for literally 24 years my life, 24 years in that uniform, 12 years here. much of this i'm proud to have been part of the original authors in writing with that. it brings me to a strange position today. i am ring in personally in opposition. this will be my last opportunity to vote on the choice act. i'll be leaving this congress after this term. and after much -- many positive thing, and i said it time and again, the chairman that chairman roe, the gentleman from tennessee, has shown, will probably not be paralleled in terms of care for veterans and the way he's approached this. this piece of legislation is critically important, the care
givers piece in it, the piece on dealing with v.a. assets and how we look at capacity going forward and of course choice. and i'd like to say, especially to my friend sam johnson, very few words need to be said about m johnson. we served on the p.o.w.-m.i.a. commission in dealing with finding the lost remains of our warriors and deal twheg russian government. when sam johnson's name is mentioned anywhere around the world, people stop and liste and so it's appropriate and i thank the chairman for naming that. of course with senator i aye ikaka and ator mccain. the v.s.o.'s, i believe, did exactly what there supposed to do. but i think this is my last chance to voice, how do we ever get to the point where we look at lo-term stability? how do we ever get to the point, three times we had to do, and the chairman is right, i have no doubt that this body, buzz of the care for veterans on both
sides,will do whatever is necessary when we run short and we will. and next may, when we hit the discretionary spending caps and things had to be made, i have no doubt under the chairman's leadership, we'll find a fix or whoever sitz in that chair will try and find that fix. i thought and still believe to this day this was our oprtunity to look at the long-term care. the issue that was going to be the stability of v.a. care. the congressional budget office estimates this bill will cost $47 billion over five years. there's not an american tax payer that would not pay every penny of that to go to care of veterans. this is not about trying to figure that piece of it out. paying for veterans care in the community is going to cost $22 billion on that i agree that reforming choice programs, consolidatinghe v.a. other care programs as needed. transfering this to discretionary funding so v.a. can budget for the increased kansases and all health care is
paid by thatund, we must ensure the high cost of community care does not force the s.a. to cut other critical veterans services. it' unfortunately that we've chosen to solve this problem on the mandatory side by exempting v.a. care from statutory pay-go but won do that in the future on the care in the community. it's not a problem years from now. everybody in here who is coming back and voters will tell you if you are or not, it's come. the cost of community care is s expensive, we will not get through fial year 2019 without a similar exemption on the discretionary side. this bill fails to address how v.a. will fund all its other programs once this transfer occurs. the bipartisan budget act deal raised v.a.'s gapes $4 billion to improve v.a. infrastructure. this increased funding responsibility is going to underme that deal, forcing v.a. to cut its own programs and using funds designated for community care. i'm just suggesting today that
with the good will, the smart policies the leadership that was her maybe we should have gone for the whole one on this i will take the critique that rooking -- looking for the perfect and throwing away the goods a fair critique. i'm just not sure in a congress with a $21 trillion deficit and a discretionary spending budget that could be eaten up across there, when is that hard decision ev going to be made? could be that v.a. provided in v.a. hospitals and may notians of those facilities will have to see cuts underhe way the law is made to make sure community care is funding. could cause cutto programs acros the program including those that help veterans with job training. even expansion of caregiver assistance for veterans of all generations, a key part of this bill, sported by everyone here, could face cuts if v.a. hits those spending caps. all of us here, it's the job of
this committee to be the authorizing committee. don't get me wrong. i'm not going to put the pressure where the white house was or the appropriators but the fact of the matter is, after this vote, the care givers program has zero dollars in it. no doars in it. th're going to have to come from somewhere. and a budget that the chairman has rightfully told us has increased four-fold in the last 10 years, we're going to have to come to gripwith that. i'm not suggesting you cut it. i'm just suggesting we budget honestly on this so we don't run into this nightmare scenario that's coming in may 2019. concerns over long-term sustainability without qualified leadership in place to ccessfully implement the program. here's what i'm worried about. if this committee and eeven this congress were responsible for implementation, but once it leaves here, it goes to the ecutive branch, i as the ranking member of the house v.a. committm not quite sure who to call up tre right now in this transition. we have been 40 days without a
v.a. secretary. eff we don't have one that i know of scheduled to go in front of the senateor confirmation at this point in time we're willing to capitulate the authority, the ability to get this over there and decisions that will affect generational care in the v.a. to somebody yet to be placed. that leadership piece scares me but again, i'm -- some of it is releed becae i know you've got leadership in this house. i know you've got a chairman who cares, wantto get this right. i trust to carry that oversight out. the problem is administrations come and go. secretaries come a go. meers of congress come and go. that's why we do statory requirements on spending that's why this is now discreonary spending. that's why there are caps in place tha cannot be violated. and dcisionwill be made where that's going to come fro also a shortage of3,000 health providers in the v.a. and a $10
billion back wilng to fix needed facilities that have d or f fe conditions that wshould be doing mo to adress internal care. i agree these reforms are needed. i agree that these programs were debated in a logical, a fair, and open manner. we got much f what neededo be done in this, we got much of what isood. the chairman took this proce exactly wha suld be expected of us. my responsibility athe final time that i will stand herto talk about how we fund choice and hue we go for long-term stainability is to ask us to just put in and we d a couple oamendmts that could do this, ask us with some capacity be able to fix that c piece in this and look for that long-term sustainability. so with that i reserve the balance of my time, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves e gentman rotennessee is recognized.
mr. roe: it's my honoand prilege to yield four minutes of time to one of my personal hero, one of the things i've had the 9 1/2 years i've served in this u.s. congress, one of the grtest privileges i've had is tserve with sam johnson. representative johnson, the honorable sam johnsons recognized for four nutes. the speaker pro teore: the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. johnson: thank you, mr. airman. mr. speaker, i fst want to thank chairman roe for his vetera pport of our and for the incredible honor he does senator akaka, mccain and myself with the bipartisan bill before us. i am trulyumbled by this gesture and i'm sure it also mean it is aill the to my buddy john, his family, and senator akaka's family as well.
both of these n served during wartime. ny folks kn thatand i were p.o.w.'s at hanoi hilton and i will always admire h courage in rejecting the norh vietname offer to go home early. they of course did this in an effort to break the spirit of other p.o.w.'s. no one but another p.o.w. kws the strength and art break it takes to deny yourself the hop of home when you future and life are uncertain. i say this as a flow p.o.w. who spent nearly seven years in that hlhole on earth. mr. eer, i served 29 years in the united stat air force. and fought in both the koan and vietnam wars.
so i understand the sacrifices ou serviceme make to prote the freedom of every american. it's only right that in return for their hful seice our veteranset the quality health care they need and deserve when they rern home. that's why one of my proudest accomplishments is the tablishment of a v.a. community-based outpatient clinic in my hometown of plano, texas thisfacili w much needed in our community and i'm proud to reportt is expanding service for our veterans l the time. but as important as a v.a. facility is, they are not always convenient for our verans to
visi to address the fact that some veteransive far from v.a. facilities, or faceonger wait times see doctors, congress creathe choice program today's bill makes the choice program even betr by bringing it full into the v.a. health system. th means alleterans actively rolled in the v.a. can go to a door in their community, u know that's the right thingo in the spirit andi ink this bill is something we should all suort. polics aside, may we all be mindfulhat our veterans hav swered the call to duty. inur -- on our behalf an he line
their families serve alongside them as wel. at the very least, they deserve to be treated with respect and appreciation for their service and the sacrifice. to all ourerans, god bless you and g bss america. absolute you. -- ialute you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlemn from minneta i recognized. mr. walz: thank u, mr. speaker. thk you the geneman from texas for bin an inspirion to everyby in ts bodynd across this untry. i'd ke to yield three minutes
to mr. takano mr. tkano: i thank representi walz fr the time and his steadfast adership on he vetans affairsommitt. and i am likesenspired by the gtleman's seice to our country, thank you, s the bill before us today is the culmination of years of ongoing discussion about how to guarantee veterans have timely access to quality care. it streamlines existing programs to get care in the community, creates a process for aligning vrment a -- v.a. facilities to meet the changing needs of the veteran population, and it expands the caregiver support program to all veterans. it could -- it should come as no surprise that i have serious concerns with this bill. i voted against it when it was
reported out of committee to signal that it's not a perfect bill and that there are still improvements to be made. one of my biggest concerns has to do with funding. in that regard i share the concern of the ranking member. while previous funding for choice came from emergency mandatory funding, moving forward the program will receive discretionary funding and could break the budget caps that trigger sequestration. that's why i offered an amendment at the rules committee last night that guaranteed that moving community care funding to the discretionary side wouldn't count against the bipartisan budget caps we agreed to just a few short months ago. . it would help guarantee we keep our promises to veterans by funding the full range of benefits they are owed. unfortunately, that amendment was not made in order for us to consider on the floor today. without this critical amendment,
i'm concerned we will be facing difficult choices. and i fear that veterans will ultimately pay the price and i mean that in a literal sense. i have concerns about the process that brought us here today. i think this bill needs a greater emphasis on building the -- 's capacity, its ternl and i wish there were more guardrails in place as we begin asset realignment and i wish we had a strong v.a. leadership in place before moving forward with sweeping reforms. but at the end of the day, mr. speaker, i just realize we can't keep doing emergency patches to fund community care. we can't continue to look veterans in the eye when we don't offer caregiver support
services just because they served in an era before 9/11. and that is why i will reluctantly vote in favor of this bill today. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. takano: i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. takano: i will reluctantly vote for this bill today. i thank you and yield back. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from tennessee is recognized. mr. roe: thank you, mr. speaker. and just for clarification, we have been under cap since 2011, the v.a. budget has grown exponentially since then. we have always done the right thing for our nation's heroes and we'll continue to do that. it's my privilege right now to yield two minutes to my good friend, colonel, dr. wenstrup, who served until he recently moved to a different committee as chair of the health subcommittee, been an active member of the v.a. committee, and has been a very valued member. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. wenstrup: thank you, mr. chairman. mr. speaker, i'm humbled to follow sam johnson here at this podium.
i have been in congress six years and to think he spent seven years incarcerated as a p.o.w., but i rise in support of the v.a. mission act. this legislation is about keeping our promises to those who safeguard our freedoms. as a member of the army verve and doctor in the army, i'm all too familiar of the challenges plaguing the v.a. today. in 2014, america witnessed the heartbreaking results of hidden v.a. wait list and congress quickly responded with the v.a. choice program to ensure that no veteran was kept from care. now under the leadership of chairman roe, we are delivering a lasting solution to get our deserving verns the care they have earned and enacting real reforms for the v.a. to succeed in the 21st century. this bill will improve and streamline the v.a.'s community care programs. outside the walls of the v.a. into one cohesive program and to give a patient and their doctor more say in the process. this create a nonpartisan, transparent process to review the v.a.'s infrastructure assets in line with the recommendation came from the commission on
care. this bill will expand the v.a.'s post-9/11 caregiver program to all eras of veterans. and this bill includes the v.a. equity act which will recruit and retain in-demand surgical specialists due in part to the increase of i.e.d.'s in the last decade of war. mr. speaker, if we don't act by may 31, 2018, the funding for the choice program will run out and veterans across america will be unable to access health care. finally, i want to extend my sincere thanks and gratitude for the entire work of the v.a. committee staff and specifically christine hill and samantha gonzalez for their countless hours that they have put in to get this across the finish line. i'm proud to sponsor the mission act named in honor of three american veteran heroes and i urge my colleagues to vote yes. and i yield back. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from minnesota is recognized. mr. walz: thank you, mr. speaker. i'd like to yield four minutes now to my good friend, the
ranking member of the subcommittee on health of the v.a., ms. brownley. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. brownley: i thank the gentleman from minnesota for yielding and thank him also for his leadership on the committee. mr. chair, i rise today in support of the v.a. mission act because it makes significant improvements to the v.a. that our nation's veterans have long been asking for which will help deliver better care to the nine million veterans enrolled in the v.a. while i recognize this bill is not a perfect one, my mission and the v.a. committee's mission has always been to provide better access to high-quality care for our nation's veterans and this bill advances that goal in a few very important ways. first, the v.a. mission act consolidates the various community care programs, which will make it easier for veterans to use and for providers to
participate in. the bill also expands the caregiver program which is critical for improving outcomes and quality of life for our veterans. this has been a key priority for our nation's veterans' service organizations for years. community nursing homes are five times more expensive than the average cost of the caregiver program. expanding the caregiver program will save the v.a. and taxpayers money in the long run, all the while allowing veterans to receive quality care and better care at home from the people they trust the most. this bill also makes important improvements to community care eligibility which are more closely aligned with the veterans' needs rather than the arbitrary criteria currently in place. finally, i'm planning to vote yes because time is of the essence. as you may know, the acting v.a. secretary recently informed
congress the choice account will run out of funds at the beginning of june, meaning tens of thousands of veterans could lose access to community care in a few short weeks. the v.a. mission act will ensure that this does not happen, which is another reason why the legislation is supported by 39 veterans' service organizations. with that said, i fully recognize that the bill's approach to realigning facilities, in my opinion, is flawed. i also share the ranking member's concerns about the budget caps. reimposing the sequester would be devastating for the v.a. and for other federal discretionary programs. this is a real issue that must be addressed. since i've been in congress, we have raised budget caps three times in a bipartisan manner. can and we must do so again in order to prevent devastating cuts to programs our constituents depends on. as the ranking member noted, during the committee markup democrats tried to fix this issue, but his amendment was
voted today. and today our new colleague from pennsylvania also has addressed legislation but the house did not adopt it. while i am disappointed the budget cap issue has not yet been fully addressed, i plan to vote for the v.a. mission act today. it is past that time congress must take action to consolidate the community care programs and to expand the caregiver program. i urge my colleagues to also support the bill. i thank you and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from tennessee is recognized. mr. roe: thank you, mr. speaker. at this time i yield two minutes to the vice chair of the committee and a tireless worker on the veterans' affairs committee, mr. bilirakis of florida. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. bilirakis: thank you, mr. speaker. i appreciate it. thank you, mr. chairman. and what an honor it is, an honor and a privilege to serve with mr. sam johnson, a true american hero. mr. speaker, i rise today in support of senate bill 2372, the
v.a. mission act, which will provide significant reforms and improvements to the veterans choice program. since its implementation, the choice program has served over 1.7 million unique veterans seeking timely and high-quality health care for their physical and invisible wounds. although progress has been made, there is more work to be done to ensure we balance resources from community care and the v.a. health care system. the v.a. mission act will streamline and consolidate the choice program with the other duplicative v.a. community care programs to create one new cohesive veterans community care program. this new program allows eligible veterans to seek care from non-v.a. providers in the community if the v.a. is not providing the quality care the veterans deserve and timely
care. it is also -- it also requires access to community providers if the veteran and doctor believe it is in their best interests, in the veteran's best interest, best medical interest to seek such care. i want to thank chairman roe, who did an outstanding job with this bill, for his hard work on this bicameral, bipartisan piece of legislation which is the result of a long negotiation process where both sides of the aisle put aside differences and ompromised to strike a balance between each stakeholder. this is how congress should work. i am proud of the work we have done on this committee. i want to thank the staff as well. the committee ensured we have a great work product for our true american heroes and, again, i want to thank the sponsors of the bill.
mr. speaker, let's have a great vote for our true american heroes. let's pass this and get it to the senate as soon as possible. and, again, i'll yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from minnesota is recognized. mr. walz: thank you, mr. speaker. could i inquire how much time we ave remaining? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from minnesota has 15 1/2 minutes. the gentleman from tennessee has 10 1/4 minutes. mr. walz: thank you, mr. speaker. at this time i yield three minutes to my good friend from the oversight and subcommittee, the gentlewoman standing on two legs from new hampshire, ms. kuster. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. kuster: i rise to speak as a co-sponsor of the v.a. mission act, and i appreciate the work of chairman roe and ranking member walz in putting this bill together. this bill is almost unanimously supported by the veterans
service organization community. i'm proud to co-sponsor this legislation because it will enact needed reforms to the veterans choice program and finally extend benefits to family caregivers for veterans of all airas. i'm pleased that the committee retained provisiones that senator sullivan of alaska and i fought for that would recognize the unique access issues for states that lack a full service v.a. hospital. when i -- while i will continue to fight for improved and expanded facilities at our manchester, new hampshire, vamc, it's important to recognize that we have unique challenges in new hampshire where we do not have a full service hospital. also want to speak to the provisions that expand the caregiver benefits provided to post-9/11 veterans, to veterans of all airas, necessary and long overdue. i heard repeatedly from granite state veterans of airas prior to the global war on are -- eras
prior to the global wan terror, that these benefits are unfair. it pits veterans against veterans and that is unacceptable. i thank chairman roe for working with us in finding a way forward for family caregiver benefits, and i'm sure thousands of granite state veterans will agree. while this bill embodies the kind of bipartisanship for which our committee is well-known, it is not perfect. as the ranking member of oversight and investigations subcommittee, i believe it's important to acknowledge parts of the bill that will need continued oversight, and i remain committed to ensuring that the v.a. follows through in a manner that fits the veterans they serve. number one, the asset infrastructure review portion of the bill is promising, but i have concerns it will be insufficient to accomplish its goals. the v.a. is in desperate need of improved facilities and a realignment of facilities to better serve veterans' needs.
in my home state of new hampshire, the veterans of the north country must rely on the choice program rather than have ease of access to services they would prefer. i'm encouraged by the continued work to improve our existing facilities. granite state veterans need more, and i hope this bill will further empower the v.a. to expand services in manchester and across our state. recent experiences have shown the v.a.'s ability to accurately assess the needs of the veterans population is in doubt, and i remain committed to ensure the v.a. can paint an accurate picture of veterans' needs, especially veterans living in rural america. too often our veterans in rural america have seen promised infrastructure expansion stripped away from them, and i urge the v.s.o. community to continue to work with us to keep the v.a. honest. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman's time has expired. ms. kuster: with that i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from tennessee is recognized. mr. roe: thank you, mr. speaker.
and it's my great honor to welcome ms. kuster back. she's been out for a little bit due to some work and glad to see her back on the floor. at this time i'd like to yield two minutes to my good friend and very, very much active member of the veterans' affairs committee, mr. bruce poliquin. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. poliquin: thank you very much, mr. speaker. thank you very much, mr. chairman. i appreciate it. mr. speaker, it's a great day, a eb great week for america. here we're celebrating not only our great veterans who have given our freedom and way of life but also our great police officers who stand between ourselves and the more chaotic environment, so we're grateful for everybody that steps up, not only our men and women in uniform who have represented us, but also our men and women in blue. mr. speaker, i represent he the second congressional district of the great state of maine. this is the largest geographic district east of the mississippi river. we have an eight-hour drive over
beautiful country roads, all kinds of critters on the road, including moose, so you have to be careful if you're driving. let me tell you, we also have 125,000 veterans in the state of maine, more than half of which, mr. speaker, are in the second district. we love our veterans in the state of maine. we absolutely love our veterans. we honor them, but we only have, mr. speaker, one veterans' hospital in the state of maine. the first v.a. hospital in america to take care of our veterans coming back from the civil war. . but if you live in french ctim, maine, or in van buren quourk may have a two or three or four hour drive to that hospital. we need to make sure we give folkance opportunity who served our country to get quourk may have the health care closer to home. it just makes sense. a lot of people, mr. speaker, say, well we don't want to privatize the v.a. neither do i. nobody wants to do.
-- nobody wants to. but it makes sense to make sure we augment what they can do so our veterans can get health care closer to home. that's what this program does. one thing i have to mention to you is some of our rural hospitals will contract with the v.a. and providing great service tours veterans have not been getting paid on time. this is a real problem when you get a small hospital that might not have bills paid for one to two years. >> the gentleman is recognized. we need to make sure all of our rural hospitals in the state of maine get paid and this bill says if they are not paid within 30 days, interest starts accruing on that, this is a great win for our veterans, for our small community hospitals that need to stay open for everybody and for this country. thank you, sir. i yield back any time i have which i doubt is any.
the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from tennessee reserves. the gentleman from minnesota is recognized. mr. walz: mr. speaker, i'd like to yield three minutes to my good friend, a member of the house committee on veterans affairs, the gentleman from california who also served a very listening time in the california senate, serving veterans there. mr. correa. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. correa: i rise in support of the v.a. missions act. mr. speaker, i support the v.a. missions act because it will improve act stoss timely care for all our veterans through consolidation and renomplee various care and community programs and through expansion of the caregiver program. like my colleague from maine said, in california we are home, proud home to the largest number of veterans in the united states and we want more of them in california. let me say to folks that i know this legislation, there may be some issues with this legislation but at the end of
the day, i've got to ask myself is this act wall street or is this about the beltway? no, ladies and gentlemen, this is about main street, main street, santa ana, orange county california. this v.a. mission act is supported by 38 veteran and military service groups including the american legion. wuven of my constituents, ken george, the district 29 commander of the department of california american legion represents more than 8,000 american leon -- legion members in orange county. he called me and he said, and i quote him if congress wants to help veterans and care givers, there's no better way than to support this legislation. as ken said, the bill will help veterans and care givers through expansion of benefits available to care givers of veterans of all eras. ladies and gentlemen, i urge passage of this legislation.
yes, some issue there is, but at the enof the day if you loon to our veterans our friends and neighbors, folks who represent, this is an aye vote. thank you very much, i yield back the remainder of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from tennessee se recognized. mr. roe: it's my privilege at this time to yield two minutes to my good friend, dr. neil dunn, u.s. army veteran, active member of the v.a. committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. dunn: thank you, mr. speaker, thank you, mr. chairman. i rise in support of the v.a. mission act of 2018. this important legislation secures veterans' ability to access quality health care and enshoo -- ensures we're fulfilling our promise to care for them following their service to our nation. it builds on the success of the choice program by streamlining community care programs so veterans can access care from a provider outside the v.a. when they need to. it also expands caregiver benefits for seriously injured
pre-9/11 veterans and their families. the v.a. mission act includes two health care initiatives and legislation i introduced that protect ours veterans receiving organ transplants and helps with the opioid crisis. currently there are only 13 facilities in nation where a veteran may receive a trns plant in the v.a. health care system. and none of these facilities performs all types of transplants. timely organ transplants are often the difference between life and death. the transplant language for my bill included in the v.a. missions act increases access to care for veteran the care that they have earned by their service to our nation. we're also fighting the opioid epidemic among veterans in my legislation. it increases transparency in opioid prescribing at the v.a. by allowing drts to identify high users of controlled drugs who are at risk for addiction.
my language in the v.a. act instructs the v.a. to do what most private doctors already do, connect with a prescription drug monitoring databases nationwide so no one slips through the cracks. mr. speaker, we're standing up and fighting for those who fought for our freedoms and there's a -- and as a surgeon and veteran, i believe the v.a. missions act is a good medicine and good public policy i urge my colleagues to support this important legislation. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from minnesota is recognized. mr. walz: thank you, mr. speaker. at this time i'd like to yield four minutes to the ranking member of the subcommittee on memorial affairs, ms. esty. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. esty: thank you, mr. speaker, thank you to the gentleman for yielding. mr. speaker, i rise today in support of the v.a. mission act of 2018. i'm proud to support the v.a. mission act of 2018, especially because of its important expansion of support for family
care givers of veterans of all service eras. since my first days in congress, i have heard from veterans and their care givers about the importance of -- important support provided through the v.a.'s program of comprehensive assistance for family care givers. family care givers provide loving, essential care at home for our injured veterans from bathing and dress -- dressing, housework and transportation, administering physical and medical therapies. care givers are true partners in the delivery of health care to our veterans and it is important that we recognize their tremendous service and their worth. in 2010, congress wisely stepped up to offer the family care givers of veterans support and performing these -- support in performing these vital task bus the program was only made available to the family care givers of post-9/11 veterans. clearly those who served in world war ii, korea, and vietnam
and their families are deserves o-- deserving of the same respect and support. that is why since being elected to congress i have offered legislation in every sgs to expand this assistance for family care givers to pre-9/11 veterans. today, this congress has the opportunity to honor and support veterans of all service eras by voting for this excellent bill. i'd like to thank congressman ryan costello for leading with me on these important caregiver issues and i want to thank the chairman and ranking member for their hard work on including this vital provision in the v.a. mission act. mr. speaker, it is time that we treat our injured veterans of all eras equally by expanding the care givers program to all injured veterans. but i do want to note that i share the ranking member's concerns with the long-term sustainability of this program. congress will have to work osely with the v.a. as its
expanded community care program is implemented to ensure the program is sustainable without cuts to other veterans or other important domestic programs. the bill we are considering today will ensure that our veterans are getting the care they need when they need it. but in addition to timely care we must ensure that veterans have access to quality care. and as we send veterans outside the v.a. system to private medical providers, we need to ensure that these doctors and other health care professionals are capable of delivering the quality care that each and every one of our veterans deserves. so while i applaud the expansion of care in this bill, i am concerned about the potential for fraud, waste and abuse as v.a. begins to send many more veterans outside the v.a. system to private method call providers. that's why it's vital congress remain engaged with the implementation of this program to make sure our veterans are
receiving high quality health care from qualified providers and that we in congress are being careful stewards of the taxpayer dollars. i again want to thank the gentleman for yielding and really want to thank the gentleman, thank the chairman for their leadership, i'm proud to serve on this committee. with such extraordinary public servants. who share commitment to serving those who have been willing to put their lives on the line to defend our freedom. it's been a pleasure and honor serving with them and again i want to congratulate everyone on their hard work in bringing this bill, admittedly not perfect but very important, forward for our consideration and i urge my colleagues to adopt it when we have the opportunity vote later today. thank you and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from tennessee is recognized. mr. roe: yield to sheriff rutherford, a member from florida and an act i member of the veterans affairs committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. rutherford: thank you, mr. speaker.
thank you, mr. chairman for this opportunity and ranking member walz thank you for such bipartisan support and work on this bill. i can tell you, i'm very proud to serve on this committee because of the kind of work that goes on here under your leadership, chairman roe. thank you very much. and i'm proud to co-sponsor this bill. i can tell you since coming to congress i've had the distinct honor of serving with dr. roe and our chairman and colleagues on the house veteran affairs committee and during this time we on the committee have heard from veteran services organizations, from the veteran administration and from veterans themselves about the challenges in the v.a. health care system. we've learned about the barriers to timely care the troubles providing -- vider shortages, the lack of prompt payment to our community providers, and so many other issues. i'm proud to say that i believe this is, in the words of 38
v.s.o.'s who wrote in strong support of this legislation, truly a historic opportunity to improve the lives of our veterans, their families, and our care givers. that's one reason i'm very proud to be on this committee. i think this is a historic move. it is our duty as legislators and as americans to ensure that our veterans receive the best care possible. this bill accomplishes that by streamlining community care programs and -- improving access to timely care, funding the choice program and under this new program, until this new program can be implemented, creating a fair asset review process, greatly expanding the v.a. caregiver program and improving v.a.'s in-house capacity. one item i would like to thank the leaders in both chambers, but especially dr. roe and his staff and the white house, for including in this language, provider recrumet and retention within the v.a., sections 301,
303, and 304 of this bill which is language that i had asked to have placed in there. these provisions expand the tools of v.a. can use to recruit and retain quality providers for requiring the use of scholarships, improving and expanding the loan repayment system, that targets newly graduated medical students and with that, mr. speaker, i yield back. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from minnesota is recognized. mr. walz: i continue to reserve our time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from tennessee is recognized. mr. roe: thank you, mr. speaker. at this time it's my privilege to yield three minutes to lieutenant general bergman from the great state of michigan and he has an incredibly value -- he is an incredible lip valued member of our committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. bergman: thank you, mr. speaker. thank you to the chairman for his tireless effort along with the committee staff and effort
to highlight that the house veterans affairs committee is truly how a congressional committee is supposed to operate. together. folk the name of the act is the mission act. any member of the military understands that mission accomplishment is always first. and with this mission act of 2018, what you're going to see is some extremely important elements in accomplishing that long-term mission of providing results for the veterans. it scombines it into one cohesive program. it removes arbitrary one-size-fits-all parameters in he choice program. previously, the choice program, limiting accessing care to convenient and affordable, it wasn't good enough.
the mission act provides choice funding shortfalls, ensuring that the one-year funding bridge was complete so veterans have a continuity of care during the implementation of the new program. it also provides for the asset and infrastructure review. this transforms the v.a. from relying on outdated in-patient facilities to more modern facilities meant for outpatient care of the future that include delivery through telehealth, through different and unique circumstances that our veterans expect and deserve today. the v.a. is one of the federal government's largest propertyholders and needs to make sure that its resources aren't wasted, keeping lights on in unused buildings. those limited resources need to be focused on the veterans. and finally, the caregiver expansion. this mission act expands caregiver support to both pre
and post-9/11 veterans. that's essential and long overdue. when you reform the v.a. and allow for greater veteran choices but do not -- and i repeat -- do not privatize, this is making the v.a. the best it needs to be going forward in support of our veterans and, again, i thank the chairman for his efforts and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from minnesota is recognized. mr. walz: mr. speaker, we're prepared to close. mr. roe: i'm prepared to close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. walz: well, thank you, mr. speaker. again to the chairman, i'm not writing your eulogy here but i would say a pretty impressive resume of accomplishments going back to the foreever g.i. bill, clay hunt suicide, is just a few, and -- forever g.i. bill, clay hunt suicide, is just a few, and your work, mr. chairman, is second to none.
your dignity and respect for all members of the house in the process is legendary. and for giving this space today to talk about and debate on this floor our shared values, compromised disagreements but always with the goal that we are in this together, that's created by an atmosphere of leadership. it's created by an atmosphere of respecting our democratic process. it's understanding this is not about got you, who's this, who's that. it's about looking at what's possible. i congratulate you on putting together a piece of legislation that has served so many veterans. it has the support of so many folks. for me on the last opportunity to express the long-term concerns to make sure we don't undermine that. i am forever grateful for that. i appreciate the comments of the gentleman from michigan talking about the capacity inside the v.a. we have incredible providers there. serving veterans every day. many of them veterans themselves. and i know your commitment to making sure they have the resources to do their job is a priority. and i think the concern that i'm
showing on the budget cap is just to make sure that we don't pick one over the other or where veterans care is. as i said again, if it were left on your shoulders, mr. chairman, to ensure that would happen, i have no -- i would sleep well at night. i worry when we don't codify these things, when we have the uncertainty in the v.a. right now, that's where my concern came from. not from this process, not from an openness, not from a commitment and not from your willingness to get this thing across the finish line. with that, mr. chairman, thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back the remainder of our time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from tennessee is recognized. mr. roe: thank you, mr. speaker. and i want to thank everyone that was involved in this process, beginning with the staff who have been heavily involved both the republican side and democratic side really for the last 18 months. i want to thank my senate colleagues, our senate colleagues on the other side of this capitol that worked very
hard and the hours that went in. the real winners here is our nation's heroes, veterans. this bill can get high quality care both inside the v.a. and out when the v.a. cannot. in many rural areas, we heard speakers here when they don't have an v.a. hospital they rely on that. i was in oregon a few months ago and realized some veterans had to drive five hours to a v.a. facility. they need a community care bill in their community. we provide the funding for that bill to bridge us over until we fully implement that. the new secretary implements that. we have a caregiver. i am a vietnam-era veteran. i have seen many catastrophically injured vietnam veterans. 520-plus vietnam veterans are dying every day. it's time we implement this bill and get the needed benefits to world war ii and veterans up to the 9/11. we need to right size the v.a. health care is not provided like
it used to be. it's become much more sophisticated in streamlining outpatient. the v.a. needs to get to that -- to be able to do that also. that's what the a.i.r. act is about. we're increasing internal capacity so we can train and get new clinicians and providers in. i will once again thank the speaker, sam johnson, who spoke a minute ago said it all. we should be able to look at that hero who is a true american hero and listen to his speech which brought tears to my eyes and vote for this bill. with that i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: all time for debate has expired. pursuant to house resolution 891, the previous question is ordered on the bill, as amended. the question is on third reading of the bill. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. ayes have it. third reading. the clerk: an amendment to amend title 18, united states code, to
a bill to nal -- amend title 38, united states code, to provide outer burial receptacles for remains buried in national parks, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on passage of the bill -- ask for a recorded vote. ok. the ayes have it. a recorded vote is requested. those favoring a recorded vote -- excuse me -- will rise. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, further proceedings on this question will be postponed.
the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise? mr. conaway: i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material to the bill h.r. 2. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. pursuant to house resolution 891 and rule 18, the chair declares the house in the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for the consideration of h.r. 2. the chair appoints the gentleman from michigan, mr. mitchell, to preside over the committee of the whole. the chair: the house is in the
committee of the whole house on the state of the union for consideration of h.r. 2 which he clerk will report by title. the clerk: a bill to provide for the reform and continuation of agricultural and other programs of the department of agriculture through fiscal year 2023, and for other purposes. the chair: pursuant to the rule, the bill is considered as read for the first time. the gentleman from texas, mr. conaway, and the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. peterson, will each control 30 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. conaway: i rise in strong support of h.r. 2, the agriculture and nutrition act of 2018, more commonly known as the farm bill. i do so proudly because i still believe that rural america and our farm and ranch families are the backbone of this country. our farmers and ranchers ensure that people pay the lowest grocery bills in the world. they also hand us a rare trade surplus while creating 21 million american jobs. in the heartland, agriculture is the lifeblood of the economy.
when agriculture does well, main street does well. and when agriculture is suffering, so is main street. beyond the economic contributions, rural america and our nation's farmers and ranchers are -- have the values i cherish deeply. the values of faith and family, of god, country, and duty. our neighbor helping neighbor, hard work and personal responsibility. in short, mr. chairman, rural america and our nation's farmers and ranchers make america great. i expect that is why the president of the united states strongly supports this farm bill and urge its passage. time is not good in the heartland. our nation's farmers and ranchers are struggling. they have no end in sight. net farm income has been cut in half over this period of time. as a result, rural america is not partaking in the economic recovery that urban counterparts are experiencing. there are many reasons why behind the hard times in farm and ranch country. i'll briefly discuss two. in my hometown of midland,
texas, we received one inch of rain over the last 195 days. drought is ravaging my state. last year we saw record losses due to hurricanes and wildfires. to the north and ranking member's home, farmers are struggling to get in the fields to plant although it is the middle of may. the fact is men and women who clothe and feed us in a manner that is unrivaled are the ones hit hardest and first by mother nature. a second reason for the current conditions is another factor totally beyond the control of our farm and ranch families, the predatory trade practices of foreign countries. for the sake of brevity, i'll offer one example. in just one year, china oversubsidized just three crops by more than $1 billion. to put that in perspective, the entire safety net for all of our farmers and ranchers under this farm bill is expected to cost just 64% of the amount china spent on illegal subsidies in
just one year. on just three crops. mr. chairman, the global market is awash with high and rising foreign subsidies, tariffs, nontariff trade barriers and this is hurting farmers and ranchers. what do we do? we heed the call of the president and the secretary of agriculture to pass this farm bill. no farm bill is -- this farm -- no, this is not a cure for all that ails rural america. but this farm bill does provide a safety net to see them through the hard times. from my colleagues interested in the budgetary impacts of this farm bill, h.r. 2 keeps faith with taxpayers, with c.b.o. now projecting more than $112 billion in savings, nearly five times what was pledged back in 2014. there are many other aspects of this farm bill but i'll just briefly touch on three. first, secretary perdue has shown great leadership on two particular issues that are extremely important to rural america. the opioid epidemic that is ravaging rural america needs an aggressive, effective response.
and the lack of broadband in many parts of rural america put farmers and ranchers and rural communities at a terrible disadvantage. the secretary's determined to tackle these problems and has asked for the tools he needs to make it happen. this farm bill provides those tools. second, it's no secret we do not have a bipartisan farm bill process at this moment, and that i deeply regret. ultimately, democrats and republicans chose to agree to disagree on the question of whether work capable adults should work or get free job training for 20 hours per week in order to be eligible for snap. i respect my colleagues on the other side of the aisle but i do want to be clear about something. this farm bill in no way, shape, or form disrespects americans who depend on snap. to the contrary, the farm bill keeps faith with snap beneficiaries, providing needed benefits and something more -- the dignity that comes with work and promise of beater life -- and a better life that jobs brings. i want these americans to realize the american dream. finally in closing, i want to
note there is a cottage industry in this town that's determined to defeat this farm bill. me want this house to ignore -- they want this house to ignore the realities of mother nature and the predatory practices of foreign countries. mr. chairman, that should not happen on our watch. i urge my colleagues to stand by the hardworking families that put food on our tables, clothes on our backs and still live every day by the values that made this country truly great, and let's stand up for rural america. let's pass this farm bill. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman is recognized. mr. peterson: mr. chairman, i rise in opposition to h.r. 2, the agriculture and nutrition act of 2018. h.r. 2 is not a work product that i'm proud of because it's not one that i or my democratic colleagues had much of a role in producing. more than that, though, i'm opposed to h.r. 2 today because
it's simply not good enough for american farmers, consumers, rural advocates. h.r. 2 fails our farmers. the bill does not improve the safety net programs farmers need to manage a troubled farm economy. it fails to make needed increases in prices under the p.l.c. program to address the 52% drop in national farm income. it doesn't increase funding to help strengthen over seas' markets on trade and renewable fuels. h.r. 2 fails our nation's hungry. while i agree there are changes that need to be made in the snap program, this is so clearly not the way to do it. t cuts $23 billion in snap benefits and estimating 2 million americans unable to get the help they feed. the bill turns around and wastes
billions with the majority cut to create a massive untested work force training bureaucracy. h.r. 2 fails our conservation goals reducing the federal funding for our voluntary conservation programs and fails our next generation, it lacks in mandatory funding in scholarships and the outreach to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. h.r. 2 fails our energy independence goals. aside from eliminating the entire energy title, the bill hobbles energy efficiency efforts in rural communities by eliminating funding for the rural for america funding. it fails the farmers and consumers we are here to represent. but what is so incredibly
frustrating for me is the failure of this process. and with that, i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. conaway: i would say for the record all of the bill was negotiated in good faith with my colleagues. not once did they mention any of these issues. but we did have an agreement on the non-snap titles. it was the snap titles that caused the rift. i recognize my colleague from pennsylvania for three minutes. mr. thompson: chairman of the agricultural committee, thank you for yielding. and i want to thank the chairman of the agricultural committee for his work on this legislation in order to support rural america and our most vulnerable. over the past three years, the committee has spent countless
hours performing outreach and holding hearings with stakeholders to improve upon the 2014 farm bill. contrary to the claims of some, this legislation was not created in the dead of night or without input from my friends across the aisle. i have a letter that was sent with priorities with the democratic members. i'm proud to say under nutrition specifically, all these titles, these priorities were incorporated into the farm bill. over this three-year period, we held 21 hearings and heard from 81 witnesses at the nutrition subcommittee alone. we traveled to participate in listening input. farm bill was in development at the committee, every member had the opportunity to provide input and that input was considered. even with an open process, no
amendments were offered during the committee markup by my friend across the aisle. that's an opportunity for refinement as well as being on the house floor. from voluntary insurance programs to conservation and rural development programs, the agricultural research, h.r. 2 contains critical supports for our nation's farmers, ranchers in rural america. on the farm side, i'm pleased with the continued reforms to the dairy margin protection rogram as well as the forestry programs in title 8. this legislation ultimately is about supporting american food both on the farm and consumer food. food is a national security issue. every american shakes hands with a farmer at least three times a day. as chairman of the nutrition subcommittee i'm proud that we maintain nutrition assistance for our most vulnerable through
the snap program. 65% of these dollars directly provide food to children, the elderly and persons with disabilities who rely on benefits of snap. h.r. 2 also does make historic changes to snap by providing new job opportunities for work-capable adults. this bill does this by re-investing significant dollars within our budget and to education and training programs. by providing the states the increased resources to do this, every work-capable snap recipient will be guaranteed a slot in the job training program. we can help folks elect a pathway to self-sufficiency and a way out of poverty. thank you, mr. speaker. i would ask that there is support tore h.r. 2. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman
reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from minnesota. mr. peterson: i yield to the the gentleman from georgia for two minutes. mr. scott: mr. chairman, let me make it very clear from the very beginning that this is a racist farm bill. make no mistake about it. the good lord said you should know the truth and the truth shall set you free. and the truth is that this is unfortunately a racist farm bill. let me tell you why. after the civil war, when the south was utterly destroyed, they established land grant colleges. and in the 30 years later, because there was so much struggle without adequate freedom for my people, african-americans, they established the 1890 land grant colleges because they had plessy
versus ferguson, separate but equal zrin. yeah, they were separated already, but never equal. ese 1890 colleges have never gotten the financial support to even come close to the white 1860's that were there. so we tried to make amends in this farm bill to come up with a very nobel idea with the shortage of younger people not going into agriculture, not going into science and technology and research. we established scholarships to go to the 1890's. but you know what? when they took our bill and put it in the farm bill, they took the money out, just like they did back in the 1890's. black people in this country have suffered too long and we need to put a stop to it.
i'm here. i know that this house will not put the money back in. it was just a million dollars a year for each of the five years just trying to get people in. and these land grants knew. every black person does not necessarily want to play football or basketball. they want to be scientists and feed the future. this is a terrible bill. and i'm asking that the senate put the $95 million back into this bill and let's finally treat the 1890 land grant african-american schools with the respect and the dignity that you never gave us.
the chair: authorized in the bill for discretionary spending o create the spending program. there was never any money in the program. we recognized the need and set that program up in place as a direct result of the gentleman's passionate plea. with that, mr. speaker, i yield one minute of time to mr. king -- there was never any money. the chair: the gentleman will suspend. order. he gentleman will suspend. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. conaway: i yield a minute to the gentleman from iowa, mr. king. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. king: i appreciate the work. first thing i'm happy about it it has protect interstate
commerce language in it. and well accomplished and protects and preserves the commerce clause. we can't have states regulating interstate commerce. this restores it. that's item number one. in title 1, we have in the bill, we protect the p.l.c. program and improve and protect the art program and we protect the crop insurance, all of that keeps our families on the farm and if we don't have that, our fluctuations take them off. we increase funding for the m.a.p. and the foreign development program. and that's the vaccine bank that is in this bill. putting work into the snap program is an important component. all work has dignity and honor and good start for what we need to do to get a better turnout with our welfare programs that are here. i thank the chairman puting the
bill on this floor today. and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from minnesota is recognized. mr. peterson: i yield two minutes to the gentlelady from iowa. -- ohio. >> mr. speaker, i stand today with my democratic colleagues fighting for the very soul of america. inscribed on the statue of liberty are these word, give me your tired, your poor, your masses, the massive refuge, send these the homeless, tempest toss to me. i lift my lamp beside the golden door. ms. fudge: we have lost our way. there is no longer a lamp or golden door and if we fail to protect children, seniors and disabled, we have lost our soul. we no longer live up to the
promise of america and the true meaning of our creed. mr. speaker, it is just cruel to american families and food producers on those who rely on the farm bill program to put them at risk only to carry out a hateful, demeaning and disspirited agenda. it is dishonest that snap recipients are lazy. 65% of all recipients cannot work. they are children, seniors and disabled. and most of the others do work and some of them in the building which we stand today. i ask my colleagues, what have poor children ever done to you? what have seniors done to you? what have the disabled ever done to you? republicans are paying for the $2 trillion debt they created in the tax bill on the backs of the poor. it is just sad, mr. speaker. really, really sad. i yield back.
the chair: the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. conaway: i yield one minute to the gentleman from illinois, mr. boston. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. bost: i hear that rural america is hurting. we need the farm bill to address the concerns facing ag all over america. the farm bill does just that. the farm bill protects the farm safety net including commodity programs and crop insurance and invests in rural broadband and modernizes f.s.a. loan programs for beginning farmers and ranchers and invest in conservation. president eisenhower said farming looks easy. those words hold true today. and that's why this bill was crafted with those farmers in mind because farmers in --
farmers are everyone's bread and butter. with that, i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from exas reserves. the gentleman will suspend. the committee will rise to receive a message. the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. the chair will receive a message. the messenger: mr. speaker a message from the senate. the secretary: i have been directed by the senate to inform the house that the senate has agreed to senate j. ress 52 title 5, united states code of the rules submitted by the federal communications commission in which the concurrence of the house is requested.
the speaker pro tempore: the committee will resume its setting. the chair: the gentleman from minnesota is recognized. mr. peterson: i'm pleased to yield two minutes to the gentlelady from new mexico ms. lujan grisham. e chair: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. lujan grisham: i came to congress to create economic opportunities for new mexico which is struggling with the highest unemployment and povert recognized. rates in the nation. we had a chance in this farm bill to do just that and i worked on a an array of bipartisan initiatives including the first ever broadband grant program to increase internet access, expediting the adoption of innovative conservation and water management technologies and banning the heinous practice
of lunch shaming. the bill you brought to the floor today not only jeopardizes that bipartisan work but includes provisions that will cause so much pain to so many people in my state. this bill creates new restrictions on snapple gibblet and a massive unfunded mandate on state bureaucracies that will further destabilize an already broken snap system in new mexico. i spent years to hold my state and for illegally denying thousands of individuals their benefits. under this bill, those mistakes will become much more common, a millions of americans will be kicked off snap and more children and families will go hungry. mr. speaker, it may be ex pedyeet to bring this bill to the floor that destroys snap as we know it, but passing a
bipartisan bill that will die in the senate does nothing for americans who wait for congress to do their job. this is a perfect reflection of what is wrong with washington that politics always take priority over progress. i urge my colleagues to recommit to the bipartisan collaborative work that is needed by ranchers, farmers and vulnerable americans in every single one of our districts. this is the only way we will pass a farm bill and fulfill our commitments. we have a duty to serve. i yield back. mr. rouzer: thank you, mr. chairman. mr. speaker, america's farm families have had to weather a five-year recession with the press prices resulting in a 52% drop in net farm income. 2/3 of our farming operations today are in economic trouble.
in chapter 12 bankruptcy -- and chapter 12 bankruptcies have risen by 33% in just two years. it's no secret that our nation's farmers and ranchers are struggling. and i hear all this talk during the past month about a free market. how everything would be so much better without farm programs. we want a complete total free market, they say. and from an intellectual and philosophical standpoint, i would love that. we all would. but here's the problem. that isn't the real world. there is no free market when you have countries all around the world subsidizing their agriculture program to the hilt. for example, communist china agreed to a subsidy limit as part of their aanticipation to the w.t.o. what do they do? they exceed that subsidy limit by $100 billion on just three crops alone in one year. that's no free market.
farm programs account for .24% of the total federal budget. in return every individual and family in this country is guaranteed abundant, affordable food supply, the very best nutritious food at an exceptionally affordable price. that is quite frankly a huge return on a relatively small investment. not to mention what agriculture means to our rural economies and our trade balance with the rest of the world. american agriculture is more than just being the best producers. it's about food security and national security. once a farm is gone, it isn't coming back. it's not like your local hardware store that goes out of business. it's not like that space isn't going to be replaced by another business. it will. farms, on the other hand, are replaced by developments, taking some of our very best farm lands out of production. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. rouzer: mr. chairman, if i could have 15 seconds.
mr. conaway: 15 seconds. mr. rouzer: we have lost millions of farmland. mr. speaker, passage of this farm bill is critical to the livelihood and success of our farm families and food supply. i hope everyone will vote for this bill. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields. the gentleman from minnesota is recognized. mr. peterson: i am pleased to yield a minute and a half to the chairman of the democratic caucus, the gentleman from new york, mr. crowley. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. crowley: we need to talk about what's really happening with this bill. just months after giving a massive tax cut to corporations and the wealthiest individuals through their tax scam, republicans are now penalizing the most vulnerable amongst us by cutting one of the most proven and valuable programs that ensures that kids, seniors, and working americans don't go hungry. if my republican colleagues looked at the facts, they'd see
that snap, or food stamps, actually work. they'd see that a worker is more likely to keep a job if they can put food on the table and at the same time afford to commute to and from work. but a child is likely to do better if school if they have a full stomach to start the school day with. calling americans -- struggling americans complacent and lazy does not help the crisis. programs like snap, they do help. if they could see all that, then we wouldn't be here debating a partisan bill that's bad for families, bad for farmers, and bad for our country. mr. chairman, the problem isn't food stamp recipients. the problem isn't food stamps. the problem is those who claim they want to help america's families and they do everything in their power to hurt them by
passing this partisan bill. i will not vote for it, and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. conaway: thank you, mr. chairman. i now yield a minute to the gentleman from florida, valued member of the committee, mr. yoho, one minute. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. yoho: thank you, mr. speaker. thank you, mr. chairman. only two times each decade did we in congress have the privilege to effect productive change for america's farmers and ranchers. those same citizens that feed and clothe the entire world. let us not forget that american farmers and ranchers only make up about 1% of our nation's population, yet, they make sure the dinner tables across the country are food on them. in fact, one farm feed 165 people in the u.s. and abroad. as such, u.s. farm policy is now a target due to its own success. politically driven think tanks and anti-farm groups believe there is no longer a point to
have a farm policy in the united states. they fail to realize that the american farmers and ranchers do business with foreign competitors who do not share the free market values of our country or the values that we are founded on. placing them at a disadvantage. therefore, we have to properly equip our producers to compete with countries that directly subsidize and own the means of production. it is indeed an issue of national security. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. yoho: 30 seconds? 15 seconds? mr. conaway: 15 seconds. mr. yoho: support this farm bill. defeat all amendments that rich soda and candy makers for profits and let us ensure the farmers and ranchers of this great country continue to plant seeds and raise the herds that secure our national abundance, high-cost, least cost of food prices in the world and support the bill. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from minnesota is recognized. mr. peterson: mr. chairman, i am pleased to yield one minute to
my colleague, the gentleman from minnesota, mr. nolan. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. knollenberg: mr. chairman, members of the -- mr. nolan: mr. chairman, members of the committee. the simple truth is that process matters. if the process fails, the outcome fails. and that is exactly what has happened with this farm bill. instead of following regular order, as we have done in the past, and i was there to personally be a part of it and witness it, by taking this kind of legislation up through the subcommittees, with open rules, giving all the members an opportunity to offer their amendments or ideas, consider them and have the opportunity to write this bill through the subcommittees, instead, it's come behind closed doors for the simple purpose of partisan positioning. in fact, members of the committee weren't even allowed to see this bill for weeks leading up to the consideration. nor were stakeholders and affected parties given the opportunity to review and
express their thoughts. and the result is a missed opportunity, an abundonment of a bipartisan, collaborative tradition that has worked so well for the farmers and consumers of this country. it's a mean-spirited, it's a bad bill, the result of a failed process, and it should be defeated, mr. speaker. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. conaway: mr. chairman, thank you. i yield one minute to the gentleman from minnesota, mr. emmer. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. emmer: thank you, mr. chair. mr. speaker, in my home state of minnesota, agriculture is one of the primary drivers of our economy, and right now farmers, ranchers, and agriculture workers across the country are looking to congress for a strong farm bill that improves the farm safety net and brings certainty to producers in uncertain times. because life on the farm isn't what it used to be. today, farmers are suffering some of the worst rates of suicide in the country. general socialized isolation, low farm income, regulatory
strains, and the lack of treatment options all make it hard for farmers to get the help they need. that's why i introduced the stress act, to boost resources specifically for farmers' mental health. with the support of chairman conaway and the house agriculture committee, i'm proud to see it included in this year's farm bill. our farmers who feed the world are feeling the weight of the world on their shoulders. it's time we get them the help and care they deserve. thank you. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from minnesota is recognized. mr. peterson: mr. chairman, i'm now pleased to yield one minute to the gentlelady from illinois, mrs. bustos. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized. mrs. bustos: thank you, mr. chairman. passing a farm bill that delivers a better deal to our growers could have and should have been a bipartisan process. but when democrats arrived ready to work, the doors were shackled shut. instead of coming together to help our producers struggling with the downturn in the this hyperl economy,
partisan bill helps everyone from pasture to plate. it cuts $23 billion from a program that feeds children, seniors, and veterans, in addition to eliminating mandatory funding for programs which are proven job creators in rural america. this strips farmers who are facing tightening market conditions of crop insurance options. this harm bill is another step in the wrong direction for rural america. at a time when farmers are already feeling the pain of president trump's impulsive trade war and secretary pruitt's attack on ethanol, i urge my colleagues, abandon this harm bill and work together on a farm bill that will strengthen rural america. thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from minnesota reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. conaway: mr. chairman, may i inquire how much time is left on each side?
the chair: the gentleman from texas has 15 twirts minutes. the gentleman from minnesota has 18 minutes remaining. mr. conaway: thank you, mr. chairman. i yield the gentleman from georgia, mr. allen, one minute. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. allen: mr. speaker, i rise today to urge all my colleagues to support h.r. 2, the agriculture and nutrition act of 2018. i have the great honor of representing georgia's 12th district, where agriculture is the number one industry. as a member of the house agriculture committee, my colleagues and i have worked diligently to craft a farm bill that works for our farmers and provides them with the ability to provide a safe, secure, economic food supply to this nation. h.r. 2 improves the current farm safety net structure and offers farmers the choice between p.l.c. and a.r.c. for each covered commodity under title 1 to combat the downturn in the farm economy. it makes strides on get hing ericans back to -- get americans back on their feet.
the greatest joy of my life was to give folks the dignity and respect they deserve to have a good job. how could we deny folks this opportunity. this bill gives them that opportunity. i urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote yes for this important bill. our farmers and our people need us. with that i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from minnesota is recognized. mr. peterson: mr. chairman, i am now pleased to yield one minute to the ranking member of the education and work force committee, mr. scott from virginia. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. scott: thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, there is a lot wrong with this bill, but as ranking member of the committee on education and the work force, i'm particularly concerned about its impact on students. snap eligibility is tied to eligibility for other vital federal programs so the proposed cuts in snap eligibility will also cut access to free school meals for 265,000 children. research has consistently shown students struggling with hunger have lower grades, less able to
focus, more likely to miss school. this bill will undermine the ability of hundreds of thousands of students to reach their full potential by cutting snap benefits for the family and reducing school benefits for the children. in the wake of a $1.5 trillion tax cut for corporations in the top 1%, it is a shameful statement of priorities when we try to pay for these tax cuts by reducing food assistance programs for low-income students. i urge my colleagues to vote no, and i yield back the balance of my time. mr. conaway: now my pleasure to recognize the gentlelady from mississippi -- alabama. mrs. roby: i offer my strongest support to the agriculture and new trish and act h.r. 2. i'm proud to serve alabama's agricultural district responsible for 93,000 jobs and
$11 billion in economic impact. i know how critically important it is that congress deliver agricultural policy that works for farmers throughout alabama and our country and make their important work easier, not harder. i'm proud that it addresses many of the challenges that farmers ace every day and streamlining burdensome pesticide regulations and strengthening the existing crop insurance program. the new farm bill makes several needed improvements to our nutrition assistance program and closing loopholes that allows for abuses. i'm proud that the new farm bill maintains vital assistance when they truly need it while making a commitment to help these individuals improve their circumstances. i support the legislation and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman
reserves the balance of his time. mr. peterson: i yield one minute to the gentlelady from new hampshire, ms. kuster. mr. kustoff: i have provide und disappointment in -- couscous as the first new humbled to serve i'm by the responsibility to fight for new hampshire family farms. i supported the legislation because while not perfect, that ill provided long-term servitude and represented a compromise. the farm bill has always been a bipartisan piece of legislation. but the bill we vote on this week represents a complete departure. democrats were pushed away by the negotiation table by an agenda that would increase food
insecurity for millions of americans. slash mandatory spending on critical rural development and conservation programs and lead to 265,000 children losing access to free and reduced lunch. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas. mr. conaway: it's my pleasure to recognize the chairman of the subcommittee for two minutes. >> i rise today to urge support for h.r. 2, the agricultural and new trish act. rural america needs our support. farm income has fallen 50%. one of the steepest drops since the great depression. the cost of production has declined while commodity prices are falling. and crops from mexico are hurting our producers.
the digital divide caused by lack of broadband services is holding rurebl america. in crisis, it has stricken rural america. mr. speaker, the farm bill addresses all of these challenges while taking the first major stop. this is our opportunity to provide the support for our farmers and providing commonsense reforms to achieve prosperity. passing the strong farm bill on time is key to this goal. i ask my colleagues join me and oppose those amendments that will hammer its development to help america. this bill provides certainty to one of america's largest job sectors and serving for our
conservative principles. join me in supporting the h.r. 2 , the farm bill. the chair: the gentleman from minnesota. mr. peterson: i yield one minute to the ranking member of the natural resources committee, mr. grijalva. mr. grijalva: it would this hurt low and middle-income families and take breakfast and lunch and fail hard-working farmers. it undermines the popular the conserves laws. removing the requirement to the impact of pesticides. pesticides are the cause of dramatic decline of many species, threat to public health and shouldn't be dispensed with in this legislation. the provisions of this legislation that are
anti-environment, anti-public health and anti-nutrition are cause for opposition. and i urge a no vote, and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas. mr. conaway: i recognize the chairman of the subcommittee mr. crawford, for two minutes. mr. crawford: i thank the gentleman. let me start by saying, no very often we talk about agriculture. next week, we will be taking up the nd arch a and while it is important, it is important to consider how vital our agriculture producers are to our national security, a country that can't feed itself is a country that is not secure and it's inviting danger and peril. all you have to do is look around the globe and see the nations that are in that
situation. venezuela can't feed themselves. and you can see the turmoil that is there. and one of the big ones that we don't talk about and that is china can't feed themselves. 1.4 billion people. what we should be doing is taking every effort to thank farmers for what they do and the security they provide to this nation and recognizing that without them, the nutrition programs that we are fighting over couldn't exist. so, let's get a little different perspective and recognize that we have to have the food produced not only to provide a level of security in this nation, but feed 300 million-plus that call this country home. second, we have to be about trying to secureing that food source and make sure that farmers in a competitive
marketplace that gives them equal opportunities to sell their commodities. and certainly, the nutrition part of this is paramount. i think most americans across the country and there are polls that bear this out. % of americans say yes, we should encourage folks to work or get nutrition benefits. we are not trying to compromise anyone's nutrition. and one thing we we need to clarify, we have no jurisdiction over school nutrition programs. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from minnesota is recognized. mr. peterson: the nutrition program is permanently authorized and doesn't need to be in this bill. yield 1.5 minutes to the
gentlelady, ms. adams. ms. adams: i voice my strong opposition to the 2018 republican farm bill. as a member of the house committee on agriculture, i participated in countless hearings about the needs of our nation's farmers and families that depend on snap to fight hunger. tragically, this bill doesn't reflect any of that testimony. it is a short-sided partisan bill that will have a detrimental impact. i cannot support it. in my home county in north carolina, 55,000 households depend on snap. this bill would rob them to access. in north carolina, more than 133,000 people will lose their snap benefits if this bill passes, including over 51,000 children. nationwide, two million people would be kicked off the program and estimated 265,000 children
would lose access to free or reduced meals at school. adding new work requirements to an unfunded untested mandate will force more needy people out of the program. colleagues, let's scrap this flawed partisan farm bill and work together in regular order to draft a bill that helps america's farmers and families that depend on nutrition assistance. i ask unanimous consent to enter a letter from a county in north carolina opposing h.r. 2 because of the detrimental effects and impact i it will have on our children and families there. i would like to enter that the record. mr. conaway: how much time is left for each side. the chair: nine minutes remaining.
mr. conaway: and the other side. mr. conaway: i reserve. the gentleman from minnesota is recognized. mr. peterson: how much time is on our side remaining? the chair: 13 1/4. mr. o'halleran: mr. speaker, i rise to express my strong opposition to h.r. 2. some may call this farm bill, but for my district this is a harm bill. year's farm this bill is deeply flawed. this bill lacks a significant commitment to the needs of rural communities with no guarantees to the title. how members of the committee say they understand the need of investment in rural america but decided to cut $517 million from rural development programs. as we work to help communities
build stronger economies, we must ensure we have a plan in place that lends a helping hand. this bill will take food out of people.hs of 10,000 we are debating a proposal that will make children go hungry. we need a debate on how to improve the business climate and work to address resource concerns by improving conservation programs. this bill was written in a bam room. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. o'halleran: we he owe the american people something better. mr. conaway: i continue to reserve. the chair: the gentleman from minnesota is recognized. mr. peterson: i yield to the gentlelady from california, ms. lee, one minute. very much. nk you
i want to thank the gentleman for yielding and also for your tremendous leadership on this bill and so many other issues. i rise in strong opposition to this disastrous farm bill. this bill cuts the supplemental nutrition program and taking food out of the mouths of two million americans. 265,000 children will lose benefits. why in the world want more americans go hungry. this is immoral and wrong. these work requirements punish struggling families who aren't getting enough hours or decent wages. nutrition assistance helps 40 million people put food on the program and the majority of people receiving snap benefits are children, the disabled and seniors. when i was young, i was a single
mom raising two bill boys. i relied on food stamps to help my family during a difficult time. i want families to help families over bridge over troubled waters. vote no. the chair: the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. conaway: the 255,000 hildren they would maintain to reduced lunch prices. but they would maintain the free lunch program. just to clarify that. great pleasure to recognize mr. rodney davis for two minutes. mr. davis: i have a district that relies on a strong farm bill. we have corn, soy beans and swine. e all eat, i realize there are
districts whose members may not be enthusiastic about the farm bill. for those concerned about the deficit, i have good news, the last farm bill was the largest cut in mandatory spending that we made in the 113th congress. if you are a member who wants to address the cycle of poverty that our quints are trapped in. this bill is for you. it invests historic amounts in work force training. despite our growing economy, we have 9 million more people on snap today than we had at the height of the recession. this is nt progress. this isn't helping to end the cycle of poverty. in my home state. 67% of people on snap are without work. this left americans disheartend.
and after months and months of searching couldn't find another job. h.r. 2 gifts investments a hope for finding a job again. four years, i was a freshman and the farm bill was to see firsthand. democrats and republicans sparring over policy differences but at least there is a debate. i'm disappointed by my friends who didn't offer any amendments in committee. work requirements are not new. they were done in 1996 by a democratic president during a similar time. when do the politics end and the serious policy discussions again. pass this important bill for our farmers and taxpayers and for too many americans trapped in poverty. let's show the american people we can govern together. .
mr. peterson: i'm pleased to yield one minute to the gentlelady from california, the leader of the democratic caucus, ms. pelosi. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. pelosi: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank the gentleman for yielding. i especially thank him for his exceptional leadership over the years to honor the historic collaboration that has always existed in our country between urban and rural america that is in all of our interests, that our farm country succeed and it's in all of our interests that the american people are not food insecure. so i thank you, mr. chairman, for your outstanding -- ranking member, for your outstanding leadership on behalf of america's farmers and hungry families. mr. speaker, this bill is just a mystery to me because we have tried so hard over the years to work in a bipartisan way to come together to write a farm bill that does honor that historic
collaboration, urban, rural, meeting the nutritional needs of the american people, encouraging the economic growth in farm country. this legislation does not do that, and i have some questions as to why. some of the questions came to mind last week when i was on a farm in iowa listening to hardworking men and women talk about their challenges with this farm bill, that it does not bolster or preserve the farm safety net, that the bill reduces investment in agriculture research, conservation, rural development, and that it cuts nutrition assistance that so many there, even in farm bill, but in our country rely on. when i was in iowa, as i said, last week, i had the privilege of meeting a wonderful woman named julia slocum. she works two jobs, she's a third generation farmer and part-time librarian.
over the years she's relied on the lifeline of snap to put food on the table during difficult times. a farmer relying on snap to put food on the table. i challenge house republicans to explain to julia why they're abandoning hardworking people like her, abandoning her twice, by gutting the farm safety net and the snap -- and snap. 1.5 million of our veterans rely on the nutrition provision of this bill. 23,000. imagine, it's not just our veterans. that would be reason alone to be concerned, 1.5 million, but of 23,000 active duty service embers, 23,000 of the families of active duty service members need to have food stamps because they are food insecure. and they are hurt by this
legislation. individuals with disabilities, working families, our seniors, tudents, children, children. democrats have always supported work initiatives for those that can work. let's be clear, this is not a jobs bill. snap returns money to farmers, to our economy, and to the treasury, creating $1.79 for every dollar in benefits and supporting more than 560,000 jobs across the country, including 50,000 in agriculture. republicans are contending they're investing in jobs. they're not evaluating in -- they're not creating jobs. they're putting a bureaucracy in place to measure what really works and relating food to jobs. but they are wasting -- and you are wasting billions of -- on new bureaucracies that will take decades to implement and that would increase hunger and poverty across the country.
it's no wonder that so many faith-based groups across the as one view this bill that does not reflect the values of america. again and again, republicans try to ransack the lifelong -- the lifeline of working families to pay for handouts and to rich -- to enrich the already wealthy. this bill abandons america's farmers where they are in a tough spot. the farm economy is struggling. as you know, commodity prices are -- farm prices are plummeting. more and more families are in danger of losing the farm. and that was before the trump tariffs invited retaliation from china. yet, republicans are creating a self-inflicted crisis farming communities can't afford and they can't control. i challenge house republicans to explain to farmers and ranchers why they propose a bill that
weakens the farmers' safety net when we should be protecting family farmers, soybean, corn, wheat, pork, and special crop growers from self-inflicted challenge of trump's trade brinksmanship. explain why this bill slashes hundreds of millions from rural development initiatives, cuts small business loan guarantees, and adds new layers of bureaucracy to high-speed broadband grants when we should be investing in self-sufficiency for small towns. explain, my republican colleagues, why this bill eliminates funding for on farm energy initiatives and biofuels when we should be embracing the farmers' role in making america sustainable and energy independent. explain, my colleagues, why this bill creates new loopholes for millionaires, multimillionaires, and billionaires to receive farm subsidies when we should be investing in the next generation
of farmers and ranchers. for the sake of our children, families, hardworking americans, such as julia, for our veterans, for our service men and women, for people -- americans with disabilities, we must return to the table and craft a balanced, robust, bipartisan farm bill, as we have done in the past and the distinguished chairman of the ag committee knows is possible. we must return to the historic decades' long bipartisan solution that wedge our farmers and our hungry families together. republicans must put aside politics and honor our responsibilities to 16 men and women of agriculture and the nearly 41 million americans who are food insecure. that is why i urge a no on this dangerous bill and yield back he balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. conaway: continue to reserve. the chair: the gentleman from minnesota is recognized. mr. peterson: mr. speaker, i'm
pleased to yield one minute to the gentleman from california, mr. panetta. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. thank you. thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, as i've told you, it is an absolute honor to serve on the agriculture committee under the leadership of the chairman as well as the ranking member. there's no doubt about that. but i mainly say that based on the work this committee does to serve those in agriculture and what that service can do for the backbone industry of our country. however, as a representative on this committee and as a representative of the salad bowl of the world on the central coast of california, my country and, yes, my community expected more out of this farm bill. look, in my area with its flourishing specialty crop industry we wanted more for the specialty crop research initiative. because of that we have a labor shortage because of the people needed to pick those crops. therefore, we needed stronger language in the bill to help with our issues and bridge the
gap. ith the burgeoning organic area, we need to properly invest in beginning producers. in addition to this the majority's trying to implement an untest hed and unproven change to title 4, the snap provision. such a change threatens to remove over a million people from the program and it deeply affects 74,000 people who are recipients of snap living and working in my community. we can do better by the farmers, people across the country by getting back to our bipartisan roots. that's how we help our agriculture. that's how we help our country. thank you, mr. speaker. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. conaway: thank you, mr. chairman. it's good to recognize the gentleman from iowa, david young, for young minute. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. young: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today in support of h.r. 2, the agriculture and nutrition act of 2018. included in this great bill are two bills i introduced -- the water act and the stress act,
which was introduced with other colleagues as well. the water act improves water quality by easing access to the conservation innovation grant program and reducing red tape. iowans expect and deserve clean water, and this bill will help do that. the stress act will help address the farmer suicide crisis gripping our nation by opening the farm and ranch stress assistance network. farmers facing tough times can get the help they need. our farmers speed, fuel, sustain the world. it's only right we take steps to help them. i was also pleased and i thank the chairman that in the farm bill there's positive steps to address the food waste that is out there in our country. our country wastes 40% of our food supply. as co-founder of the food waste caucus, i'm committed to reducing food waste to combat hunger as well as are many of my other colleagues. i want to thank chairman conaway for his leadership on putting the food waste liaison at the f.d.a. to reduce waste by 50% by 2030. thank you, mr. chairman.
i urge my colleagues to support this bill. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from texas reserves with 5 1/2 minutes remaining. the gentleman from minnesota is recognized with 9 1/4 minutes remaining. mr. peterson: mr. chairman, could i inquire how much time we have on our side? the chair: 9 1/4 minutes to the gentleman from minnesota. 5 1/2 minutes to the gentleman from texas. mr. peterson: i yield 1 1/2 inutes to ms. blunt rochester. the chair: the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. blunt rochester: i joined the house committee on agriculture because of its reputation of being bipartisan. i represent an entire state, urban, rural, and suburban. the farm bill is vital. that is why it was so dis-- i was so disappointed to see this break down. the goal of creating a thriving economy and moving people out of poverty is a goal we all share, and throughout my career, i've
worked to connect people with jobs. as delaware's former secretary of labor and deputy secretary of health and social services, i've overseen both work force development and economic safety net programs. i believe in work. we believe in work. however, the majority's proposal would essentially force individuals off snap to pay for an unproven, untested, severely underfunded program. what happens if your child gets sick or your car breaks down? should that mean you and your child go hungry for up to a year if you're sanctioned? what makes this even more troubling is that the 10 pilot programs designed to give us best practices in providing employment and training to snap recipients, one of which in my state of delaware, have not been completed and evaluated and won't be until at least 2019. why are we putting the cart before the horse? if the majority is really concerned with getting the policy right, why not wait until we have the evidence and the
data to make good use of taxpayer dollars? to understand the impact to delaware, i traveled across my state and met with farmers, emergency food providers, supermarket owners and state agencies. but the conversation that surprised me the most was one i had recently with a father. he shared how years ago snap and public housing allowed he and his wife to raise three healthy daughters. because of support, he was the first in his family to graduate from high school and college and ultimately to move out of poverty. he paid that debt back in multiple ways through service. he went on to become a social worker, a school administrator, and subsequently elected city council president. the value of service was then passed down. one daughter went to work in the white house and is now professor of social work at rutgers university. the second daughter became an engineer and worked for the u.s. army protecting our troops. and his oldest daughter grew up to be a congresswoman. that dad is my