Opening Statement: "Member Day Hearing"
Washington, December 6, 2023
Tags: 2023 Farm Bill
Rep. Glenn "GT" Thompson (PA-15), Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, delivered the following opening remarks at today's Member Day hearing:
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
"Good morning, and welcome to the House Committee on Agriculture’s Member Day hearing. I appreciate my colleagues taking some time to share their priorities and perspectives.
"For nearly three years, I have traveled across the country to hear from farmers, ranchers, foresters, rural communities, and everyday consumers. These men and women have struggled with fractured supply chains, considerable input costs, relentless inflation, natural disasters, volatile markets, and labor shortages, each consistently worsened by ill-conceived, half-baked Executive action.
"This Committee has a magnificent mandate: to deliver a farm bill that protects and enhances the resources needed for producers to mitigate risk, increases our great nation’s position on the world’s stage, strengthens agriculture’s return on investment, and most importantly, safeguards food and national security. And while the extension secured in the recent stopgap appropriations bill provides immediate certainty, it is not and should not be in lieu of a comprehensive and thoughtful bipartisan five-year reauthorization.
"We can craft a bipartisan farm bill that aligns the farm safety net with the needs of producers, expands market access and trade promotion opportunities, strengthens program operations to demand transparency and accountability to the taxpayer, and reinforces not only the importance of helping our neighbors in need, but doing so without indiscriminate expansion of our nutrition safety net.
"However, significant headwinds exist. These range from the stark politics of the 118th Congress to the costs and funding constraints across the 12 titles of the bill. It will be virtually impossible to create a robust and resilient farm safety net without significant investment.
"Over the last six months, I have spent time with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, articulating not only the needs in farm country, but how to fund the thousands of priorities shared through the Committee’s electronic portal and countless listening sessions. I have promoted a thoughtful framework of ideas, including the repurposing of Inflation Reduction Act dollars as well as a strengthening of Congress’ Article I authority through a forward-thinking Thrifty Food Plan framework, among others. Taken in concert, these funding opportunities would not only fine tune the farm safety net but increase the farm bill’s baseline through reinvestment in bipartisan priorities across other titles including conservation, research, and nutrition.
"These ideas have been applauded and demonized, but I will not relent. I will not fail our rural communities, many of whom have suffered insurmountable loss due to variables beyond their control. Our task is to build a responsive framework to meet the needs of American agriculture and its vast value chain; we do not need a transformational farm bill to do better; strategic investment and good policy will make all the difference.
"This Committee has a large jurisdiction, and I have always said we can walk and chew gum at the same time.
"Over the past year, we worked closely with the House Committee on Financial Services to craft the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act, or FIT21, a comprehensive framework for the digital asset market. FIT21 will offer certainty for market participants, address regulatory gaps, foster American innovation, and implement vital customer protections in the digital asset ecosystem.
"This collaborative effort resulted in FIT21 being passed out of both Committees in a bipartisan manner. Our work continues on this important policy priority as we pursue the bill’s advancement in the House.
"And finally, as we consider additional authorities for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, we must also finally reauthorize the Commission. As the Ranking Member and I have both agreed, this is another critical piece of work for the Committee to undertake. With that, I welcome my colleagues to today’s hearing and look forward to their testimony.
"I now yield to the distinguished Ranking Member, Mr. Scott."