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Opening Statements

Opening Statement: Republican Leader Glenn "GT" Thompson Full Committee on Agriculture Hearing: “A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: Stakeholder Perspectives on Non-SNAP USDA Nutrition Programs”

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and good morning to our witnesses. Thank you for sharing your time and expertise.

First, I want to remind the Committee we are—again—battling record levels of inflation. Consumer prices rose 8.6 percent in the 12 months ending in May, climbing at the quickest pace since the Carter Administration. This Administration and my colleagues must rethink regulatory actions and spending proposals, because to say our communities are suffering is an understatement.

This harsh reality makes today’s hearing important, but also a cautionary tale. Each of the programs being discussed today, including the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, the Emergency Food Assistance Program, and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, round out the nutrition safety net for individuals and communities in need.

But it’s no wonder participation rates are through the roof. 

Nutrition distribution and incentive programs are costing billions to operate, and inflated prices are making it harder for providers to provide and recipients to receive. So, I do hope today delivers a realistic discussion on how to combat these excessive costs and ensure those in need have access.

But more spending and expanded eligibility are not necessarily the answer. Infusing the economy with newly printed money is a reckless plan. Instead, we need to evaluate how to grow our economy naturally, through increased labor force participation, addressing our fractured supply chain, and boosting our domestic production—welcome steps toward less need and reliance on federal aid.

Today also presents the opportunity to discuss what is working—and what is not—in the statutes guiding each of these programs. I remain troubled that our recent nutrition Farm Bill-related hearings have focused so little on the 2018 bill, and more on where we can increase spending and expand eligibility and programming. We know for a fact some of the bipartisan ideas that came to fruition in 2018 have cost too much, yielded too few results, or barely made a difference in people’s lives.

I think it’s also imperative we hear more about nutrition and health today. The recently announced White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, Hunger, and Health advertises itself as an event to accelerate progress and drive significant change to end hunger, improve nutrition and physical activity, reduce diet-related disease, and close the disparities around them. On its face, that mission appears praiseworthy. However, the hearsay surrounding the conference is leaving much to be desired. 

And lastly, in areas like nutrition incentives, what is being studied and learned related to health outcomes? Are we asking the right questions about their impact? And are beneficiaries receiving the bulk of the funding or are we seeing funds tied up by organizations under the guise of “administration?”

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for calling this hearing. I look forward to the discussion and again, I thank our witnesses for their testimony.

With that, I yield back.
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