Opening Statement: “Consideration of the Budget Views and Estimates Letter of the Committee on Agriculture for Fiscal Year 2024”
Rep. Glenn " GT" Thompson (PA-15), Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, delivered the following opening remarks at today's Full Committee Business Meeting: "Consideration of the Budget Views and Estimates Letter of the Committee on Agriculture for Fiscal Year 2024.”
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
"Good morning, everyone. I call to order the business meeting to consider the Agriculture Committee’s fiscal year 2024 Budget Views and Estimates letter.
"Before we get into the letter, I would like to extend a warm welcome to two returning members of the House Committee on Agriculture, Congressman Mike Bost of Illinois and Congressman Sanford Bishop of Georgia. Gentlemen, we are very glad to have you back with us.
"The letter before you is the product of a joint effort with Ranking Member Scott which articulates how a Farm Bill can alleviate the need for costly and inefficient emergency ad hoc spending and promote economic growth. I won’t gloss over the facts; our country’s financial situation is bleak: $31 trillion in debt and rising. This is a very real cause for concern that should be addressed clear-eyed and with future generations in mind. I recognize and appreciate the enormity of the task ahead for my Budget Committee colleagues. They have to craft a proposal that strives for economic growth and fiscal balance.
"There is an adage in healthcare that 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,' and I think that applies to our work leading up to a Farm Bill reauthorization. If done correctly, we can get away from this cycle of ad hoc aid and instead implement pro-growth policies across all titles of the Farm Bill that will ultimately reduce America’s debt-to-Gross Domestic Product ratio.
"To put the baseline of the Farm Bill in perspective, all mandatory spending within it constitutes less than 2 percent of all federal spending. When you drill down further, the farm safety net—commodity programs and crop insurance combined—make up just two-tenths of one percent of all federal spending. The return on this investment is incredible when you consider there’s 43 million jobs and over $7 trillion in economic activity attributed to the food and agriculture sector.
"That is the lens through which I will be viewing all titles of the Farm Bill—asking what is the return on investment and where can we make fiscally responsible, commonsense investments that improve the overall well-being of all our citizens, especially those living in rural America.
"I think the letter under consideration today lays out that case and sets us on the path to crafting an on-time, effective, and bipartisan 2023 Farm Bill, and I urge its swift adoption.
"I would now like to recognize my good friend and brother in Christ, Ranking Member Scott for any remarks he would like to make."