Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 7606, the so-called Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act,
a legislative package that falls woefully short in addressing the ongoing supply chain and inflationary crises hammering America’s farm families and consumers.
Prior to the House passage of H.R. 7606, Republican Leader of the House Agriculture Committee, Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, delivered the following remarks on the House floor:
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
"I rise today in opposition to H.R. 7606 because, simply put, this bill does nothing to lower food and fuel costs
"Long before Russia's invasion of Ukraine, America's farm families and consumers were struggling with fractured supply chains, skyrocketing input costs, and historic levels of inflation, each of which continue to contribute to increased food prices and diminished inventories.
"Despite these crises, Democrats have neglected to take serious action to incentivize increased American production. In fact, we are here today to debate a bill that compounds the situation, further limiting American farmers' ability to meet global food demand and doubling down on the idea that more spending and big government will feed the world.
"Adding insult to injury, the White House has been quick to blame the private sector and alleged industry concentration for the current crises. Economists across the spectrum, including former Obama and Clinton Administration officials, have dismissed the strategy as misleading, at best, or otherwise blatantly political.
"So, it is not surprising that at the behest of the White House, we are debating a package whose anchor piece of legislation perpetuates a tired narrative of blame, duplicates existing authorities, ignores industry and producers, and undermines the Department of Justice.
"It’s also not surprising the party of “defund the police” has also become the party of more cops for cows.
"At every turn, this Administration has obsessively pointed the finger at the packing industry in particular—blaming them almost single-handedly for rising food costs. They’ve done so via blog posts, contrived public events, and press briefings—all without any acknowledgment of the culpability of their own reckless spending and heavy-handed regulatory agenda.
"If this were a serious exercise, my Democrat colleagues would not have paired such an egregious example of legislative overreach with several other bipartisan, thoughtful bills. If this were a serious exercise, my Democrat colleagues would not have added two unvetted Democrat amendments that are more about political point-scoring than genuine, near-term policy solutions. If this were a serious exercise, my Democrat colleagues would have worked with Republicans to form concrete, immediate policy solutions with a chance of consideration in the Senate.
"I know both parties understand the gravity of these issues, and while we may have disagreements on policy, I was confident we could find common ground solutions if given the opportunity. I am dumbfounded as to why Democratic leadership would choose this moment—when consumers are deciding between gas in their cars or food on their tables—as an attempt to score political points. Especially on the heels of a nearly nine percent increase in consumer prices—the worst this nation has seen since the Carter Administration.
"So, Republicans forged ahead and developed solutions. Earlier this week, Leader McCarthy and I, along with nearly 100 of our Republican colleagues, sent a letter to President Biden, outlining administrative actions he could take immediately to mitigate rising input costs, and strengthen the role American agriculture plays in global food stability.
"And yesterday, I, along with many of those same members introduced H.R. 8069, “The Reducing Farm Input Costs and Barriers to Domestic Production Act.” The bill would reverse many of the more harmful regulatory burdens spearheaded by this administration, address escalating input costs, and provide certainty to farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses, and other entities across the food and ag supply chains.
"The letter and this bill stand in stark contrast to what we’ve seen from the White House and the Democrats in Congress and their efforts to scapegoat private industry for skyrocketing gas prices and sustained supply chain failures.
"So, in short, the crises we are facing cannot and will not be mitigated with unfunded mandates, duplicative authorities, politicized agencies, and big government, all of which are laced into H.R. 7606…"