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#FARMBILLFRIDAY: Chairman Conaway Calls on the House to Stand with Rural America and SNAP Recipients

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Washington, May 18, 2018 | comments
In this week's #FarmBillFriday, Chairman Mike Conaway (TX-11) speaks on the House floor prior to the vote on H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act, highlighting the exceptional importance of voting yes to the 2018 Farm Bill, which benefits producers and consumers alike. Though a disappointing vote, the House will continue its efforts to deliver a farm bill to the president's desk on time. Transcript below.

Chairman Conaway's remarks as delivered:

Mr. Speaker, we’re at a point in time where It is now time to move forward. We have had a relatively complicated process, 600 page bill, 51 amendments made in order, now this attempt to legislate at the last second—but it’s about to get real simple.

We’re about to start putting up red and green votes on the board behind you, Mr. Speaker.

Let me tell you what the green votes are for. Green votes would be that you stand with Americans, you stand with those producers out there who are under terrible circumstances—50% drop in net farm income the last five years.

Today’s headlines in USA Today, “Farmers being forced to quit as income dives.” That’s who you will stand for with a green vote.

Or, a red vote says no, we want to continue to argue about this. We want to take advantage of what might happen in November because we’re going to say no to this. We’ve got SNAP beneficiaries out there who are dependent on this new program we’re going to put in place to have the case managers to help them walk through these labyrinth of social networks and try to get them to a job, you are saying no to those guys as well.

We’re going to say no to the men and women who eat our food every single day. You could love the farm bill or you could hate the farm bill, but it delivers the most effective, safest and affordable food and fiber supply of any developed nation in the world. That is a pocket book issue that comes across this country and a no vote says never mind.

A yes vote today will say we stand with those men and women who buy food every single day.

Those paycheck-to-paycheck families who are looking for [affordable prices]—their rent doesn’t change, their car payment doesn’t change, if something happens in the middle of the month it comes out of their food budget. Why on earth would we intentionally try to screw those folks over by raising the cost of food, by not continuing this process and moving forward?

So, Mr. Speaker, this is pretty darn simple, very darn simple. Either vote with those SNAP recipients whose lives will be better, whose impact will be better, or you vote against them. You vote with the men and women who suffered through the terrible times of the last five years, the worst since the depression, or you vote no.

There is no group of Americans more in tuned to what goes on in this floor than the men and women of production agriculture. It is vital to their livelihood, vital to their existence what we do here tonight. And you’ll hear a lot of rhetoric about those red votes as to why they didn’t want it… all lofty reasons why they didn’t vote, voted no on it, but I guarantee you those farmers and ranchers back home that are watching this clock and watching what happens, they’ll understand what it means. They’ll understand that those yes votes mean, we’re going to move this process forward. We’re going to continue to give them or attempt to give them the assurance over the next five years what this farm bill will do for them and how they’ll stay in business, how their bankers will make plans and move this thing forward.

We’ve had three years of hard work on this, 114 hearings, we are ready to move this bill forward. I recommend that my folks vote against the last minute, the last effort to look like they’re legislating because they ignored the process for over a month, including in committee, and let’s move this forward.

Vote no on this amendment and yes on this. I yield back.

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