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Thompson Lambasts Partisan Reconciliation Process

Agriculture Committee Remains in the Dark on Missing Funds

Today, Republican Leader of the House Agriculture Committee, Glenn "GT" Thompson, delivered a scathing speech on the House floor regarding the partisan reconciliation process. "This sham of a process is an insult to the 201 years of the House Agriculture Committee’s bipartisanship," Thompson said. "I refuse to stand idly by as this Committee is driven into the ground by a partisan process that leaves rural America behind:"

"Madam Speaker,

"I rise today with great disappointment as we await a vote on a secretive, partisan budget reconciliation package.

"I am incredibly proud to serve as Republican Leader of the House Agriculture Committee. It’s an honor to work on behalf of the farmers, ranchers, and foresters who feed, clothe, and power our nation. I’m equally proud of the bipartisan work the House Committee on Agriculture has long done on behalf of rural America.  

"Sadly, since the start of the 117th Congress, it seems the days of bipartisan, commonsense solutions are now few and far between.

"The most recent reconciliation process for the Agriculture Committee is especially concerning, if not utterly bizarre.

"On Friday, September 10, my Republican colleagues and I participated in a nine-hour markup, only for Committee Democrats to recess until the following Monday to gain the votes to ram through an incomplete, and unvetted budget reconciliation package to the tune of $66 billion.

"Noticeably missing from the package was a whopping $28 billion—$6 billion more than the Committee’s instruction—in additional spending, left out due to Democrats’ ongoing troubles with the Congressional Budget Office and the Byrd Rule in the Senate.  

"During the markup, both Republican and Democrat members asked repeatedly when the Committee would know more about the missing funds and whether the Committee would be able to engage, review, and markup the provisions. The Committee’s Majority indicated the $28 billion would be added at a later stage. This was a stunning admission and a departure from regular order for the House Agriculture Committee. This amount of money would traditionally demand dozens of public hearings, testimony from stakeholders, and rounds of technical assistance from USDA—all conducted by the Committee of jurisdiction.

"Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for this bill—a package that rivals many titles of a 5-year Farm Bill in size and scope, I might add.

"Now, I wish I could say I was surprised, but given how Republicans have been so brazenly ignored throughout the first reconciliation, and this newest sham reconciliation, this dereliction of process has sadly become par for the course.

"As for the $28 billion of missing mystery funds, members of our Committee remain in the dark. Initial summaries leaked to the press by stakeholder groups and Senate Democrats told one story. A draft leaked this week told a very different one, including what appears to be $34 billion beyond the Democrats’ own instruction.

"This past weekend, the Budget Committee spent time moving the total package forward, and it now  looks as though the Chairman of the Rules Committee gets to decide the fate of the Agriculture package.

"This. Is. Absurd.

"This sham of a process is an insult to the 201 years of the House Agriculture Committee’s bipartisanship. I refuse to stand idly by as this Committee is driven into the ground by a partisan process that leaves rural America behind.

"Enough is enough, Madam Speaker. Congress is a circus and Democrats in leadership are the ringleaders.

"This process is an absolute farse, and it has only further devolved into chaos as the press, lobbyists, and Democrat leadership aides know more about the policy than committees of jurisdiction. Leaked documents and secretive briefings should not be the way Washington does business.

"Process aside, this is simply a bad bill, and it does next to nothing for rural America. It is shameful that in nearly $100 billion dollars of excess spending that claims to be for agriculture, there isn’t one penny for the commodity safety net, crop insurance, broadband, or disaster assistance.

"Madam Speaker, I could go on and on about how this bill fails rural America—five minutes simply is not enough time, so I will close with this.

"Democrats can either force this sham of a bill through and pat themselves on the back for explosive spending and lack of transparency, or we can start over, and work together to put real solutions on the table for rural America.

"Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I yield back the balance of my time."

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