4:02 PM EDT

Tom Coburn M.D., R-OK 2nd

Mr. COBURN. Mr. Chairman, the purpose of this amendment is to address the increase that was given to the Office of the Chief Information Officer. What we have heard through the general debate on this bill is that this is a fairly tight bill, and I agree that it is a fairly tight bill. I also agree that there is also an area where if we spend a certain amount, $61 billion, that we ought to make sure that that money that is allocated, that belongs to the taxpayers, actually gets to the end people

that we want it to get to, i.e., the farmers, i.e., the people that are going to be dependent on it.

The Office of the Chief Information Officer under this appropriation request received a 9 percent increase. Now, of that $500,000 increase, what we will see, if we are honest about where the money is going to come, is it is all going to come from Social Security. We are going to take surplus Social Security money and we are going to spend it to give a 9 percent increase. For us to keep the agreement not to spend Social Security money, to keep the agreement that the President and the Congress

signed off on in 1997, that we have to cut spending $10 billion, not increase it a quarter of a billion as this bill does, we have to make some trims back in these appropriation bills.

4:04 PM EDT

Tom Coburn M.D., R-OK 2nd

Mr. COBURN. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, that is a literal statement that in fact at the end of the day will not be true. Because by saying that this is within the 302(b) means that you also would agree that Labor HHS could be cut $4.9 billion which is also in the 302(b) for Labor HHS. I assure you that neither you nor I would vote for an appropriation bill at that level. So what I would tell the gentleman is that the 302(b)s really are not applicable to the process that we are seeing going

on right now because the end game is we are going to spend Social Security money and we are not going to be below the $10 billion. I understand how that works, you understand how that works, and although technically this committee is within the 302(b) allocation, the 302(b) allocations are designed so that in the long run we will spend Social Security money.

4:05 PM EDT

Earl Pomeroy, D-ND

Mr. POMEROY. If the gentleman will yield further, this House passed a budget. These are the early appropriation bills coming to the floor under that budget. Much was made by the majority in consideration of the budget that it was protecting Social Security. Here we have the chairman of the Subcommittee on Agriculture bringing his bill up within the allocation he had.

4:05 PM EDT

Earl Pomeroy, D-ND

Mr. POMEROY. If the gentleman will yield further, this House passed a budget. These are the early appropriation bills coming to the floor under that budget. Much was made by the majority in consideration of the budget that it was protecting Social Security. Here we have the chairman of the Subcommittee on Agriculture bringing his bill up within the allocation he had.

4:05 PM EDT

Tom Coburn M.D., R-OK 2nd

Mr. COBURN. Reclaiming my time, if the gentleman would agree to vote for this bill under its 302(b) and agree to vote for the Labor HHS bill under its 302(b), I will be happy to buy his discussion of this argument. But I would portray that I will not vote for a Labor HHS bill that is cut by $4.9 billion and I would surmise that he probably would not do that under the same argument. The fact is that the 302(b)s are not an accurate reflection of where we are going with the budget process this year.

They are in terms of total dollars, and I would agree with the gentleman in terms of total dollars, but what they are is front-end-loaded and at the tail end is the very things that most people are going to need besides our farmers, those that are most dependent on us, the veterans, those that do not have housing, those that are needy in terms of Medicaid, Medicare and the supplemental things that we do to help those people, those dollars are not

going to be available. So what we are going to do is we are either going to pass a bill that cuts those severely, which neither of us I would surmise would vote for, or we are going to go into a negotiation again with the President and bust the budget caps and in fact spend Social Security money. So I will stick with my argument that this bill, because it is above last year and is not below last year, will in the end ultimately spend seniors' money.

4:07 PM EDT

Tom Coburn M.D., R-OK 2nd

Mr. COBURN. Mr. Chairman, I guess if we were to ask the seniors who are on Social Security in Oklahoma and those from your State if they believe it is appropriate that this office get a 9 percent increase this year and what did they get in terms of their Social Security increase, I think most of them would object to the fact that we cannot be more efficient. That is the point I am making.

4:07 PM EDT

Tom Coburn M.D., R-OK 2nd

Mr. COBURN. Mr. Chairman, I guess if we were to ask the seniors who are on Social Security in Oklahoma and those from your State if they believe it is appropriate that this office get a 9 percent increase this year and what did they get in terms of their Social Security increase, I think most of them would object to the fact that we cannot be more efficient. That is the point I am making.

4:07 PM EDT

Tom Coburn M.D., R-OK 2nd

Mr. COBURN. Mr. Chairman, I guess if we were to ask the seniors who are on Social Security in Oklahoma and those from your State if they believe it is appropriate that this office get a 9 percent increase this year and what did they get in terms of their Social Security increase, I think most of them would object to the fact that we cannot be more efficient. That is the point I am making.

4:08 PM EDT

Earl Pomeroy, D-ND

Mr. POMEROY. Reclaiming my time, I was respectful to the gentleman in his 5 minutes and I want to make a couple of points. The farmers of this country are in a world of hurt. I have lived all my life in North Dakota and I have never seen it as bad as it is today. We have prices that do not cover the cost of production. This body made a decision that we were not going to protect farmers when prices collapsed and prices have collapsed below the cost of production. As a result, we have got farmers

going bankrupt all over the country. We have got auction sales in North Dakota that do not quit. Now, this Congress because we have got a farm bill that is not working has tried to do a lot of things. Members will remember last year, we passed increasing the AMTA payments, we passed accelerating the AMTA payments, more money to farmers to somehow tide them through this situation. We passed a disaster bill that has proven to be the most confusing disaster bill ever passed and the U.S. Department of Agriculture did not even get it all fully available until June of this year. Now, through this all, the farmer understands one thing. He is losing money, and he is about out of time. He does not understand all these relief measures that we are trying to pass because they are confusing, they are haphazard, they have been passed in a happenstance way and in an ad hoc way. The Public Information Office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has never been more important. And if you think everyone gets it in terms of what is available for them, you just call

one of your farmers right this afternoon and ask them. It is chaos out there and confusion. They do not know what is available. The U.S. Department of Agriculture needs to do a better job. Secondly, it needs the resources so that it can do the job we expect them to do. We have changed the farm program. We have ended the price support that has been part of farm policy for four decades. We are now operating under ad hoc, give them some money here, get them some money there, build a program, try to tide us through, and all of that

is very confusing. This public information function is vital. When we pass a response to farmers, that just does not mean that money appears in the bank account. You have got to run the program. That means have the people understand it, have them come in, have it

administered in the field offices and get the checks out. This is an essential part of that bargain. This is under the absolute legitimate function of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture operating under their allocation bringing this money to the floor.

I notice that all of the Republican leadership voted for the last Coburn [Page: H3555]

amendment. Does the Republican leadership not understand the crisis that we have in farm country? We have an absolutely deadly threat to our farmers. We are going to lose family farming as we know it today without responding. And so I do not want this to be a Republican or Democrat majority-minority thing. This is a bill for farmers at a time when they have never ever needed it

more. So let us save those arguments about these unrelated matters, make them in special orders, make them another time, but let us today, this afternoon, stand for our farmers. They desperately need the help.

4:11 PM EDT

Matt Salmon, R-AZ 1st

Mr. SALMON. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I would like to compliment the gentleman from Oklahoma. While I know that the debate, as we go forward, might get just a little bit convoluted, we might begin that old discussion of apples and oranges, the fact is, the gentleman from Oklahoma recognizes this, that last year we made a solid, ironclad promise to the seniors in this country; and that was that we, as a Congress, would do everything within our power in a bipartisan way, both Republicans and Democrats, to protect the

solvency of Social Security.

The fact is, the gentleman from Oklahoma has recognized, I think, as many of us do, that within this total budgetary process, he sees that train wreck coming. The fact is, at the end of the day, after it is all done, if we fund government, if we fund the bureaucracies at the level that all of these proposals are coming in at, we will end up having to rob Social Security to cover up the difference. Frankly, I am not going to be a party to that.

I know the gentleman has risked a lot to put forth, what, close to 100 amendments today because he believes so strongly in the sanctity, the sacredness of making that promise to the seniors in our country, the seniors in this land. Every amendment that he offers, you are going to hear arguments why the bureaucracy that they are defending is more important than the promise and the commitment, the sacred commitment, that we made to our senior citizens. Frankly, I am going to side with the gentleman

from Oklahoma on this one.

4:11 PM EDT

Matt Salmon, R-AZ 1st

Mr. SALMON. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I would like to compliment the gentleman from Oklahoma. While I know that the debate, as we go forward, might get just a little bit convoluted, we might begin that old discussion of apples and oranges, the fact is, the gentleman from Oklahoma recognizes this, that last year we made a solid, ironclad promise to the seniors in this country; and that was that we, as a Congress, would do everything within our power in a bipartisan way, both Republicans and Democrats, to protect the

solvency of Social Security.

The fact is, the gentleman from Oklahoma has recognized, I think, as many of us do, that within this total budgetary process, he sees that train wreck coming. The fact is, at the end of the day, after it is all done, if we fund government, if we fund the bureaucracies at the level that all of these proposals are coming in at, we will end up having to rob Social Security to cover up the difference. Frankly, I am not going to be a party to that.

I know the gentleman has risked a lot to put forth, what, close to 100 amendments today because he believes so strongly in the sanctity, the sacredness of making that promise to the seniors in our country, the seniors in this land. Every amendment that he offers, you are going to hear arguments why the bureaucracy that they are defending is more important than the promise and the commitment, the sacred commitment, that we made to our senior citizens. Frankly, I am going to side with the gentleman

from Oklahoma on this one.

4:11 PM EDT

Matt Salmon, R-AZ 1st

Mr. SALMON. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I would like to compliment the gentleman from Oklahoma. While I know that the debate, as we go forward, might get just a little bit convoluted, we might begin that old discussion of apples and oranges, the fact is, the gentleman from Oklahoma recognizes this, that last year we made a solid, ironclad promise to the seniors in this country; and that was that we, as a Congress, would do everything within our power in a bipartisan way, both Republicans and Democrats, to protect the

solvency of Social Security.

The fact is, the gentleman from Oklahoma has recognized, I think, as many of us do, that within this total budgetary process, he sees that train wreck coming. The fact is, at the end of the day, after it is all done, if we fund government, if we fund the bureaucracies at the level that all of these proposals are coming in at, we will end up having to rob Social Security to cover up the difference. Frankly, I am not going to be a party to that.

I know the gentleman has risked a lot to put forth, what, close to 100 amendments today because he believes so strongly in the sanctity, the sacredness of making that promise to the seniors in our country, the seniors in this land. Every amendment that he offers, you are going to hear arguments why the bureaucracy that they are defending is more important than the promise and the commitment, the sacred commitment, that we made to our senior citizens. Frankly, I am going to side with the gentleman

from Oklahoma on this one.

4:13 PM EDT

George Nethercutt, R-WA 5th

Mr. NETHERCUTT. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

I have listened to well-meaning people here today. The sponsor of the amendment certainly is, and the last speaker certainly was; my friend from North Dakota certainly is. But let us make sure we understand what we are really talking about here.

All this discussion about senior citizens being hurt by something that we might or might not do relative to emergency spending or busting the budget caps or whatever the spending argument might be is just false. Nobody is going to hurt any senior citizens. Senior citizens are not going to be touched in this debate on Social Security.

It is my generation that is going to be hurt. And the younger people who are baby boomers are going to have to face this Social Security issue. It is not going to affect senior citizens. We are not going to cut Social Security that affects their lives. We are talking about out to 2032, for goodness sakes. So I think that is a false argument as we talk about agriculture.

My friend from North Dakota, as a strong advocate of agriculture and rural agriculture, like I am because I come from a district that depends on it, is mistaken relative to the farm bill of 1996 somehow causing the low prices around the world. That is nonsense in my judgment.

What is happening is, we are in a world market economy that has some price depressions. It is not the farm bill that has caused problems for our farmers; it is the fact that we do not have markets, for crying out loud.

My argument is, we ought to be lifting sanctions on those countries which we have previously traded with that have been good customers of our farmers, in a free market system, not more government control or more government regulation or more command and control farming for the government in our system. This free market system is a good one.

[Time: 16:15]

Ask farmers. I have asked them, and they have told me: We like the system, but we have to have freedom to market our products overseas, and we do not have it right now, and we need less regulation at the Federal level, at the USDA level. That is what is going to save and help our farmers.

So I am all in favor of making cuts wherever we can, but as my colleagues know, the chairman here has worked hard within our budget allocation to do what is right for agriculture. Most of this money in this ag budget goes for food stamps, WIC programs, as my colleagues know, food safety and other social sides of spending relative to agriculture. It is not the farmers that are getting some great windfall. The farmers are hurting. So the biggest part of this budget goes to the social spending side

of agriculture which is lumped into the ag appropriations bill.

So we are not going to hurt senior citizens in this process where certainly our farmers are needing help, but I think it can be done better in the market economy rather than in more government control. As my colleagues know, more regulations and rules at the Federal level are going to hurt our farmers and restrict them even more.

So, Mr. Chairman, let us make sure we understand what we are talking here, and I understand the motivation of my friend from Oklahoma. He has got good motivation, but this bill is within our budget targets, and we are trying to do all we can for farmers as well as the WIC program and food safety and all the rest that is lumped into this very difficult challenge of trying to make the ag budget work and be balanced.

4:13 PM EDT

George Nethercutt, R-WA 5th

Mr. NETHERCUTT. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

I have listened to well-meaning people here today. The sponsor of the amendment certainly is, and the last speaker certainly was; my friend from North Dakota certainly is. But let us make sure we understand what we are really talking about here.

All this discussion about senior citizens being hurt by something that we might or might not do relative to emergency spending or busting the budget caps or whatever the spending argument might be is just false. Nobody is going to hurt any senior citizens. Senior citizens are not going to be touched in this debate on Social Security.

It is my generation that is going to be hurt. And the younger people who are baby boomers are going to have to face this Social Security issue. It is not going to affect senior citizens. We are not going to cut Social Security that affects their lives. We are talking about out to 2032, for goodness sakes. So I think that is a false argument as we talk about agriculture.

My friend from North Dakota, as a strong advocate of agriculture and rural agriculture, like I am because I come from a district that depends on it, is mistaken relative to the farm bill of 1996 somehow causing the low prices around the world. That is nonsense in my judgment.

What is happening is, we are in a world market economy that has some price depressions. It is not the farm bill that has caused problems for our farmers; it is the fact that we do not have markets, for crying out loud.

My argument is, we ought to be lifting sanctions on those countries which we have previously traded with that have been good customers of our farmers, in a free market system, not more government control or more government regulation or more command and control farming for the government in our system. This free market system is a good one.

[Time: 16:15]

Ask farmers. I have asked them, and they have told me: We like the system, but we have to have freedom to market our products overseas, and we do not have it right now, and we need less regulation at the Federal level, at the USDA level. That is what is going to save and help our farmers.

So I am all in favor of making cuts wherever we can, but as my colleagues know, the chairman here has worked hard within our budget allocation to do what is right for agriculture. Most of this money in this ag budget goes for food stamps, WIC programs, as my colleagues know, food safety and other social sides of spending relative to agriculture. It is not the farmers that are getting some great windfall. The farmers are hurting. So the biggest part of this budget goes to the social spending side

of agriculture which is lumped into the ag appropriations bill.

So we are not going to hurt senior citizens in this process where certainly our farmers are needing help, but I think it can be done better in the market economy rather than in more government control. As my colleagues know, more regulations and rules at the Federal level are going to hurt our farmers and restrict them even more.

So, Mr. Chairman, let us make sure we understand what we are talking here, and I understand the motivation of my friend from Oklahoma. He has got good motivation, but this bill is within our budget targets, and we are trying to do all we can for farmers as well as the WIC program and food safety and all the rest that is lumped into this very difficult challenge of trying to make the ag budget work and be balanced.

4:13 PM EDT

George Nethercutt, R-WA 5th

Mr. NETHERCUTT. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

I have listened to well-meaning people here today. The sponsor of the amendment certainly is, and the last speaker certainly was; my friend from North Dakota certainly is. But let us make sure we understand what we are really talking about here.

All this discussion about senior citizens being hurt by something that we might or might not do relative to emergency spending or busting the budget caps or whatever the spending argument might be is just false. Nobody is going to hurt any senior citizens. Senior citizens are not going to be touched in this debate on Social Security.

It is my generation that is going to be hurt. And the younger people who are baby boomers are going to have to face this Social Security issue. It is not going to affect senior citizens. We are not going to cut Social Security that affects their lives. We are talking about out to 2032, for goodness sakes. So I think that is a false argument as we talk about agriculture.

My friend from North Dakota, as a strong advocate of agriculture and rural agriculture, like I am because I come from a district that depends on it, is mistaken relative to the farm bill of 1996 somehow causing the low prices around the world. That is nonsense in my judgment.

What is happening is, we are in a world market economy that has some price depressions. It is not the farm bill that has caused problems for our farmers; it is the fact that we do not have markets, for crying out loud.

My argument is, we ought to be lifting sanctions on those countries which we have previously traded with that have been good customers of our farmers, in a free market system, not more government control or more government regulation or more command and control farming for the government in our system. This free market system is a good one.

[Time: 16:15]

Ask farmers. I have asked them, and they have told me: We like the system, but we have to have freedom to market our products overseas, and we do not have it right now, and we need less regulation at the Federal level, at the USDA level. That is what is going to save and help our farmers.

So I am all in favor of making cuts wherever we can, but as my colleagues know, the chairman here has worked hard within our budget allocation to do what is right for agriculture. Most of this money in this ag budget goes for food stamps, WIC programs, as my colleagues know, food safety and other social sides of spending relative to agriculture. It is not the farmers that are getting some great windfall. The farmers are hurting. So the biggest part of this budget goes to the social spending side

of agriculture which is lumped into the ag appropriations bill.

So we are not going to hurt senior citizens in this process where certainly our farmers are needing help, but I think it can be done better in the market economy rather than in more government control. As my colleagues know, more regulations and rules at the Federal level are going to hurt our farmers and restrict them even more.

So, Mr. Chairman, let us make sure we understand what we are talking here, and I understand the motivation of my friend from Oklahoma. He has got good motivation, but this bill is within our budget targets, and we are trying to do all we can for farmers as well as the WIC program and food safety and all the rest that is lumped into this very difficult challenge of trying to make the ag budget work and be balanced.

4:17 PM EDT

David M. McIntosh, R-IN 2nd

Mr. MCINTOSH. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the gentleman's discussion.

One question that the gentleman from North Dakota (Mr. Pomeroy) really refused to answer was whether he would be able to support the later appropriation bills with as much as $3 to $5 billion in reductions so that we could stay within the overall cap and stop using the Social Security surplus. I know the gentleman has worked with us in the past to make sure that we could do that, but I just wanted to ask for the record, would he anticipate being able to support those types of bills with the lower

spending in the later part of the process?

4:17 PM EDT

George Nethercutt, R-WA 5th

Mr. NETHERCUTT. Mr. Chairman, I think that is what we have to do one at a time. I think we have to make that judgment based on what we have before us. I have got an interest, a strong interest, in biomedical research, which is part of the Labor-HHS bill. That is extremely important to me. But I think we have to make tough choices, and so we are trying to make tough choices. The chairman has in this ag bill in staying within our caps, but as my colleagues know, we have got to get them passed,

too.

Mr. Chairman, we cannot just not pass something. This, as my colleagues know, we can fight this bill until the cows come home, but we got to get something passed, and that is the chairman's motivation, the chairman of the big committee, the full Committee on Appropriations' motivation, and as my colleagues know, we can look downstream and figure out what we are going to have to face. But let us face it, but let us pass these bills or else we are going to have nothing to pass until the end of

the day.

4:18 PM EDT

Leonard L. Boswell, D-IA 3rd

Mr. BOSWELL. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

It has been an interesting discussion going on here, and it does not take really a rocket scientist to figure out what is going on when we see this many amendments on this particular bill, and if we want to do something about Social Security, let us bring it out here and get on with it. But if we are going to talk about agriculture, let us say it like it really is.

Agriculture is in a world of hurt. The last speaker, the previous speaker, and I just met in the Rayburn Room with some of my bankers from rural Iowa, and they are talking about the foreclosures that are starting to take place. It is really happening, it is really happening; reflections for me, having come out of the State legislature, [Page: H3556]

of what went on in the 1980s, and it is not a very pretty sight and it is not good for our country.

Now we might ought to reflect on this a little bit. As my colleagues know, we are pretty unusual in the world of things at 14, 15 percent, Mr. Chairman, of disposable income spent on food compared to anywhere else in the world, modern countries, wherever, 25 or whatever, to undeveloped countries that take everything, and we have got the most plentiful, safest food and the least expensive. Now we do not feel that way when we go to the grocery store, but the truth of it is it is that way. Now we

are messing with our machinery, if my colleagues will, with our factory, if my colleagues will, that produces this food and fiber.

Now some of these things said need to be expanded on a little bit. The secretary told us in our Committee on Agriculture here 3 months ago, something like that, unprecedented, unprecedented worldwide, that we have got overproduction. So when we go somewhere else to make a trade or to want to sell, they say: ``Excuse me. We want to sell to you.''

So, Mr. Chairman, we got a tough situation, and to get the word out and to make sure that, as my colleagues know, those of them that are aware of what is going on in the Farm Service Agency offices and so on, to be able to get the word out as to what is there for them, we need this to be done. We probably need it more than what we are appropriating.

And I want to compliment the chairman, too, and I want to compliment the ranking member for the work they have done within these targets that were established. Pretty tough. I know they have had a tough assignment, but they worked hard and put the hours in, and we thank them for it, and we appreciate it. But we need to pass an ag bill. We need to tell the farmers out there that provide the food and fiber for all of us that we know what is going on and that we want to help them and we want to

pass this bill.

4:18 PM EDT

Leonard L. Boswell, D-IA 3rd

Mr. BOSWELL. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

It has been an interesting discussion going on here, and it does not take really a rocket scientist to figure out what is going on when we see this many amendments on this particular bill, and if we want to do something about Social Security, let us bring it out here and get on with it. But if we are going to talk about agriculture, let us say it like it really is.

Agriculture is in a world of hurt. The last speaker, the previous speaker, and I just met in the Rayburn Room with some of my bankers from rural Iowa, and they are talking about the foreclosures that are starting to take place. It is really happening, it is really happening; reflections for me, having come out of the State legislature, [Page: H3556]

of what went on in the 1980s, and it is not a very pretty sight and it is not good for our country.

Now we might ought to reflect on this a little bit. As my colleagues know, we are pretty unusual in the world of things at 14, 15 percent, Mr. Chairman, of disposable income spent on food compared to anywhere else in the world, modern countries, wherever, 25 or whatever, to undeveloped countries that take everything, and we have got the most plentiful, safest food and the least expensive. Now we do not feel that way when we go to the grocery store, but the truth of it is it is that way. Now we

are messing with our machinery, if my colleagues will, with our factory, if my colleagues will, that produces this food and fiber.

Now some of these things said need to be expanded on a little bit. The secretary told us in our Committee on Agriculture here 3 months ago, something like that, unprecedented, unprecedented worldwide, that we have got overproduction. So when we go somewhere else to make a trade or to want to sell, they say: ``Excuse me. We want to sell to you.''

So, Mr. Chairman, we got a tough situation, and to get the word out and to make sure that, as my colleagues know, those of them that are aware of what is going on in the Farm Service Agency offices and so on, to be able to get the word out as to what is there for them, we need this to be done. We probably need it more than what we are appropriating.

And I want to compliment the chairman, too, and I want to compliment the ranking member for the work they have done within these targets that were established. Pretty tough. I know they have had a tough assignment, but they worked hard and put the hours in, and we thank them for it, and we appreciate it. But we need to pass an ag bill. We need to tell the farmers out there that provide the food and fiber for all of us that we know what is going on and that we want to help them and we want to

pass this bill.

4:21 PM EDT

Bill Young, R-FL 10th

Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I take the time first to compliment my friend and colleague from Oklahoma (Mr. COBURN) for speaking out so strongly for those who rely on Social Security, because I have the great privilege of representing more Social Security recipients than almost every Member of this House of Representatives, and so I really appreciate the strong work and the strong message, and I am glad that Congress recognizes that it is important to keep our commitment to those on Social Security.

And to do that we did adopt a budget resolution that provided the appropriators with a certain amount of money for discretionary spending.

Now in that amount of money, we suballocated that money based on what we refer to as section 302(b) suballocations. Now this is the first of the 13 regular appropriation bills to come before the House. We have already done two supplemental bills, one conference report on the supplemental bills, and now this is the fourth appropriations vehicle that we have seen for the year. It is within the section 302(b) suballocation, and the section 302(b) suballocations are within the budget numbers set

by the budget resolution and also within the budget caps established in 1997.

As a matter of fact, during the work of the full committee there were numerous amendments that were offered to dramatically increase the amount of money in this bill, and the Committee on Appropriations, determined to stay within the suballocation, the budget ceiling number, resisted those amendments.

So, Mr. Chairman, we bring to our colleagues a bill that has been looked at extremely closely by both sides of the House, both parties, and we came to a workable bill that will meet the requirements of America's farmers for this fiscal year, and as has been pointed out, that is important. It is important that America's farmers stay alive and stay well because while we do import some food, 75 percent of our nutrition comes from what the American farmer produces.

So again, Mr. Chairman, to my colleagues I would say this bill is within the section 302(b) suballocations, which are within the budget resolution number, which are within the 1997 budget caps that all of the leaders of both political parties in the House, both political parties in the Senate and the President in the White House have all said we are going to live within. This bill lives within those budget caps and within its section 302(b) suballocation, and I would hope that we could resist

these amendments and get on to passing this bill, and get to conference with the other body and get the funding to the agriculture community where it is really needed.

4:21 PM EDT

Bill Young, R-FL 10th

Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I take the time first to compliment my friend and colleague from Oklahoma (Mr. COBURN) for speaking out so strongly for those who rely on Social Security, because I have the great privilege of representing more Social Security recipients than almost every Member of this House of Representatives, and so I really appreciate the strong work and the strong message, and I am glad that Congress recognizes that it is important to keep our commitment to those on Social Security.

And to do that we did adopt a budget resolution that provided the appropriators with a certain amount of money for discretionary spending.

Now in that amount of money, we suballocated that money based on what we refer to as section 302(b) suballocations. Now this is the first of the 13 regular appropriation bills to come before the House. We have already done two supplemental bills, one conference report on the supplemental bills, and now this is the fourth appropriations vehicle that we have seen for the year. It is within the section 302(b) suballocation, and the section 302(b) suballocations are within the budget numbers set

by the budget resolution and also within the budget caps established in 1997.

As a matter of fact, during the work of the full committee there were numerous amendments that were offered to dramatically increase the amount of money in this bill, and the Committee on Appropriations, determined to stay within the suballocation, the budget ceiling number, resisted those amendments.

So, Mr. Chairman, we bring to our colleagues a bill that has been looked at extremely closely by both sides of the House, both parties, and we came to a workable bill that will meet the requirements of America's farmers for this fiscal year, and as has been pointed out, that is important. It is important that America's farmers stay alive and stay well because while we do import some food, 75 percent of our nutrition comes from what the American farmer produces.

So again, Mr. Chairman, to my colleagues I would say this bill is within the section 302(b) suballocations, which are within the budget resolution number, which are within the 1997 budget caps that all of the leaders of both political parties in the House, both political parties in the Senate and the President in the White House have all said we are going to live within. This bill lives within those budget caps and within its section 302(b) suballocation, and I would hope that we could resist

these amendments and get on to passing this bill, and get to conference with the other body and get the funding to the agriculture community where it is really needed.

4:24 PM EDT

Tom Coburn M.D., R-OK 2nd

Mr. COBURN. Mr. Chairman, I have the utmost respect for the gentleman. I believe his heart is right.

As my colleagues know, when 1997 was agreed to, we did not have a war in Bosnia, we did not have $13 billion that we are going to spend on an action over there. Where are we going to get the money to pay for that? Where did that money come from? That money comes from Social Security.

So the debate really is, is the climate in Washington going to change? Are we going to talk to the President? Are we going to bring things down and say: We are spending this $13 billion because we got to fight a war, and there is probably going to be more where that comes from. We want to plus up defense. I agree with that, but are we going to live within those budget caps as we do that?

4:27 PM EDT

Bill Young, R-FL 10th

Mr. YOUNG of Florida. I would respond to the gentleman that we will probably spend every nickel and every dime that is provided for in that budget resolution because, as the gentleman knows because I have told him this many, many times, if we just froze every account at last year's level we would be $17 billion over those '97 budget caps, and that tragedy that we experienced last year, the end of the year so-called omnibus appropriations bill, if we did everything that that bill committed us

to do, we would be $30 billion over those budget caps that the gentleman is talking about.

But let me close out this conversation on this subject because Social Security was Mr. Coburn's original discussion. No one will fail to receive [Page: H3557]

their Social Security check if this bill passes. No one Social Security check will be late unless the Y2K problem does not get solved, and that is something else that we have to worry about.

And I have heard these arguments in this Congress for many years in an attempt to, whatever the attempt was, and I will not suggest what the attempt was, to frighten people into thinking that if we did not do this or did not do that, their Social Security check would not be coming. That did not happen. The Social Security checks go out, they go on time, they are deposited electronically on time, and this bill's passage is not going to affect the outcome of anyone's Social Security check 1 hour,

1 minute or 1 second or $1.

4:29 PM EDT

David R. Obey, D-WI 7th

Mr. OBEY. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I have had difficulty figuring out where I am today. When I came over here, I thought that I was attending a session of the House of Representatives. I did not know that I was really attending a session of the Republican Caucus.

[Time: 16:30]

It has been very interesting. I am not quite sure what to say about it. Let me simply suggest that the gentleman from Florida (Mr. YOUNG), the chairman of the Committee on Appropriations has, on three occasions, tried to produce legislation which would meet with bipartisan approval in this House. Each time, it is interesting to note that he has run into a roadblock.

That roadblock has not been constructed by members of our party, the minority; that roadblock has been placed in his way by members of the majority party, the Committee on Appropriations chairman's own party.

I think all of us know that the gentleman from Florida (Mr. YOUNG) is trying to do the right thing both for his party and for this institution, and for this country. And I, for one, make no apology, and I do not think he does either, for the level at which this bill is funded.

I know of no group in the country that has suffered a larger erosion of income over the past decade or two decades than have American farmers. I know that we hear a lot about urban poverty, but the fact is, I can take my colleagues into communities where poverty is just as excruciating in rural areas. It is just a little bit more anonymous and it is a little bit further away from the television reporters who are located in the urban centers of this country.

So I think, given that fact and given the fact that American farmers are now being exposed to the crunch of world markets as never before, I do not think we have to apologize for the high funding level in this bill. This bill, if we compare it to what we appropriated last year, out of all spigots including emergency appropriations and the famous Omnibus Appropriations bill, this bill represents a 31 percent cut from last year.

Now, I would simply say this: We have tried on this side of the aisle. I did not vote for the budget 2 years ago. I thought that it was ill-conceived for this Congress to pass it; I thought it was ill-conceived for this President to sign it.

There are a lot of things that this Congress and this President have done that I think are ill-conceived. That was the most spectacular, in my view. But nonetheless, even though I have disagreed with that budget, I tried to cooperate with the committee, because that is our institutional responsibility. But sooner or later, we are going to have to face the fact that we either make some compromises or nothing further will get done this year.

This is, as I say, the third time that we have seen a different play called after the committee brought its legislation, or tried to bring its legislation, out of subcommittee.

On the last vote, I understand virtually all of the Republican leadership voted for the amendment that eliminated the funds contained in the original committee bill. I make no apology for supporting this bill, but I want to say this to those on my side of the aisle. I do not believe that we have any greater obligation to stick to the committee product than does the majority party. And if the leadership of the majority party is going to vote for amendments which are admitted by the author to be

part of a tactical filibuster, then I would say the leadership of the House on the Republican side is cooperating in the destruction of its own ability to produce any progress on appropriation bills for the rest of the year.

Now, if they want to do that, that is up to them, but I do not think that is going to be healthy for the House or, in the end, healthy for their record come October.

4:29 PM EDT

David R. Obey, D-WI 7th

Mr. OBEY. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I have had difficulty figuring out where I am today. When I came over here, I thought that I was attending a session of the House of Representatives. I did not know that I was really attending a session of the Republican Caucus.

[Time: 16:30]

It has been very interesting. I am not quite sure what to say about it. Let me simply suggest that the gentleman from Florida (Mr. YOUNG), the chairman of the Committee on Appropriations has, on three occasions, tried to produce legislation which would meet with bipartisan approval in this House. Each time, it is interesting to note that he has run into a roadblock.

That roadblock has not been constructed by members of our party, the minority; that roadblock has been placed in his way by members of the majority party, the Committee on Appropriations chairman's own party.

I think all of us know that the gentleman from Florida (Mr. YOUNG) is trying to do the right thing both for his party and for this institution, and for this country. And I, for one, make no apology, and I do not think he does either, for the level at which this bill is funded.

I know of no group in the country that has suffered a larger erosion of income over the past decade or two decades than have American farmers. I know that we hear a lot about urban poverty, but the fact is, I can take my colleagues into communities where poverty is just as excruciating in rural areas. It is just a little bit more anonymous and it is a little bit further away from the television reporters who are located in the urban centers of this country.

So I think, given that fact and given the fact that American farmers are now being exposed to the crunch of world markets as never before, I do not think we have to apologize for the high funding level in this bill. This bill, if we compare it to what we appropriated last year, out of all spigots including emergency appropriations and the famous Omnibus Appropriations bill, this bill represents a 31 percent cut from last year.

Now, I would simply say this: We have tried on this side of the aisle. I did not vote for the budget 2 years ago. I thought that it was ill-conceived for this Congress to pass it; I thought it was ill-conceived for this President to sign it.

There are a lot of things that this Congress and this President have done that I think are ill-conceived. That was the most spectacular, in my view. But nonetheless, even though I have disagreed with that budget, I tried to cooperate with the committee, because that is our institutional responsibility. But sooner or later, we are going to have to face the fact that we either make some compromises or nothing further will get done this year.

This is, as I say, the third time that we have seen a different play called after the committee brought its legislation, or tried to bring its legislation, out of subcommittee.

On the last vote, I understand virtually all of the Republican leadership voted for the amendment that eliminated the funds contained in the original committee bill. I make no apology for supporting this bill, but I want to say this to those on my side of the aisle. I do not believe that we have any greater obligation to stick to the committee product than does the majority party. And if the leadership of the majority party is going to vote for amendments which are admitted by the author to be

part of a tactical filibuster, then I would say the leadership of the House on the Republican side is cooperating in the destruction of its own ability to produce any progress on appropriation bills for the rest of the year.

Now, if they want to do that, that is up to them, but I do not think that is going to be healthy for the House or, in the end, healthy for their record come October.

4:39 PM EDT

Eva M Clayton, D-NC 1st

Mrs. CLAYTON. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

That is the hope, Mr. Chairman, that we will have a chance to vote.

Mr. Chairman, I serve on the Committee on the Budget, and as I recall, the Committee on the Budget set certain limits, and my understanding is that agriculture being the first out is under its 302(b) allocation. So the issue about spending more monies than allocated that are out of compliance of the budget resolution is not directed at appropriations of agriculture. It is only directed because it is a convenient model to discuss this issue.

So although this may be a worthy issue to talk about, saving Social Security, not spending it, and I would entertain the gentleman's argument that it is a worthy issue, it is misdirected. It should not be directed here. We should not make agriculture the scapegoat for the gentleman's worthy discussion. I think it is misplaced.

I do not know what the issue is with agriculture. The gentleman says he is from an agriculture community. Oklahoma, the last time I heard, has a lot of issues that are equally as pressing as Social Security. This agriculture bill takes no more from Social Security than if it had not passed. It will take a lot from Oklahoma farmers, however, if it does not pass.

4:39 PM EDT

Eva M Clayton, D-NC 1st

Mrs. CLAYTON. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

That is the hope, Mr. Chairman, that we will have a chance to vote.

Mr. Chairman, I serve on the Committee on the Budget, and as I recall, the Committee on the Budget set certain limits, and my understanding is that agriculture being the first out is under its 302(b) allocation. So the issue about spending more monies than allocated that are out of compliance of the budget resolution is not directed at appropriations of agriculture. It is only directed because it is a convenient model to discuss this issue.

So although this may be a worthy issue to talk about, saving Social Security, not spending it, and I would entertain the gentleman's argument that it is a worthy issue, it is misdirected. It should not be directed here. We should not make agriculture the scapegoat for the gentleman's worthy discussion. I think it is misplaced.

I do not know what the issue is with agriculture. The gentleman says he is from an agriculture community. Oklahoma, the last time I heard, has a lot of issues that are equally as pressing as Social Security. This agriculture bill takes no more from Social Security than if it had not passed. It will take a lot from Oklahoma farmers, however, if it does not pass.

4:39 PM EDT

Eva M Clayton, D-NC 1st

Mrs. CLAYTON. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

That is the hope, Mr. Chairman, that we will have a chance to vote.

Mr. Chairman, I serve on the Committee on the Budget, and as I recall, the Committee on the Budget set certain limits, and my understanding is that agriculture being the first out is under its 302(b) allocation. So the issue about spending more monies than allocated that are out of compliance of the budget resolution is not directed at appropriations of agriculture. It is only directed because it is a convenient model to discuss this issue.

So although this may be a worthy issue to talk about, saving Social Security, not spending it, and I would entertain the gentleman's argument that it is a worthy issue, it is misdirected. It should not be directed here. We should not make agriculture the scapegoat for the gentleman's worthy discussion. I think it is misplaced.

I do not know what the issue is with agriculture. The gentleman says he is from an agriculture community. Oklahoma, the last time I heard, has a lot of issues that are equally as pressing as Social Security. This agriculture bill takes no more from Social Security than if it had not passed. It will take a lot from Oklahoma farmers, however, if it does not pass.

4:45 PM EDT

Tom Coburn M.D., R-OK 2nd

Mr. COBURN. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Chairman, I disagree that that is what the issue is. I believe the issue is, did the Congress speak and say something, and are they willing to have the American people believe that they are going to do what they told them they would do.

4:46 PM EDT

Tom Coburn M.D., R-OK 2nd

Mr. COBURN. Wonderful.

Mr. Chairman, what the American people are looking for from this body is honesty, integrity, and truthfulness about what our situation is. We can have wonderful debates about where our priorities should be, but the fact is that we did have an agreement. I did not happen to vote for the 1997 budget agreement, but we did have an agreement with this President, with the Congress of the United States, that said we are going to live within this agreement.

What the American people are wondering is are we really going to do it, or is Washington going to continue to do what it has done the last 40 years, to say one thing and do something completely other, and at the same time spend their pension money?

4:47 PM EDT

Barney Frank, D-MA 4th

Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Chairman, I will take back my time.

I would only make one edit. When the gentleman said ``Washington,'' read [Page: H3559]

for that, ``The Republican Congress.'' That is what he means by ``Washington,'' because the Republicans control the House and control the Senate.

So my friend, the gentleman from Oklahoma, says the issue is, is this Republican-controlled Congress going to live up to this Republican accomplishment of 1997. And I think the answer is, they are looking for a way not to. He may not like the implications of what he said, but that is what he said.

He said, here is the issue, is this Republican Congress willing to live up to this Republican 1997 budget act. And I think here is the problem with the American people.

4:47 PM EDT

Barney Frank, D-MA 4th

Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Chairman, I will take back my time.

I would only make one edit. When the gentleman said ``Washington,'' read [Page: H3559]

for that, ``The Republican Congress.'' That is what he means by ``Washington,'' because the Republicans control the House and control the Senate.

So my friend, the gentleman from Oklahoma, says the issue is, is this Republican-controlled Congress going to live up to this Republican accomplishment of 1997. And I think the answer is, they are looking for a way not to. He may not like the implications of what he said, but that is what he said.

He said, here is the issue, is this Republican Congress willing to live up to this Republican 1997 budget act. And I think here is the problem with the American people.

4:47 PM EDT

Barney Frank, D-MA 4th

Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Chairman, I will take back my time.

I would only make one edit. When the gentleman said ``Washington,'' read [Page: H3559]

for that, ``The Republican Congress.'' That is what he means by ``Washington,'' because the Republicans control the House and control the Senate.

So my friend, the gentleman from Oklahoma, says the issue is, is this Republican-controlled Congress going to live up to this Republican accomplishment of 1997. And I think the answer is, they are looking for a way not to. He may not like the implications of what he said, but that is what he said.

He said, here is the issue, is this Republican Congress willing to live up to this Republican 1997 budget act. And I think here is the problem with the American people.

4:48 PM EDT

Barney Frank, D-MA 4th

Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Chairman, I have been here too long to be proud. I will accept second chances.

Mr. Chairman, I would just say I think the issue is in fact, and I am not as sure as the gentleman as to what the American people think, but I think the American people may be conflicted.

I think they may have a preference, on the one hand, for a low level of overall spending, and on the other hand, for particular spending programs that add up to more than the overall level. That is, I think the American people may be in a position where they favor a whole that is smaller than the sum of the parts they favor, and that is what we have to grapple with.

4:48 PM EDT

Barney Frank, D-MA 4th

Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Chairman, I have been here too long to be proud. I will accept second chances.

Mr. Chairman, I would just say I think the issue is in fact, and I am not as sure as the gentleman as to what the American people think, but I think the American people may be conflicted.

I think they may have a preference, on the one hand, for a low level of overall spending, and on the other hand, for particular spending programs that add up to more than the overall level. That is, I think the American people may be in a position where they favor a whole that is smaller than the sum of the parts they favor, and that is what we have to grapple with.

4:49 PM EDT

Barney Frank, D-MA 4th

Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. I knew Lincoln was a pretty smart fellow, but if the guy that was around in 1865 has made a comment about 1997, he was even smarter than I thought. But go ahead.

4:49 PM EDT

Barney Frank, D-MA 4th

Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. I guess he would say that, but I do not know why.

If the gentleman is saying, ``change your mind,'' okay, but let us be clear what ``change your mind'' means. If it means he admits that this great accomplishment of 1997, this Balanced Budget Act that has been the basis for so much that they have taken credit for, they are really ready to throw it over the side, I do not blame the Members. I never liked it in the first place.

The one thing the Members are not entitled to do is to express surprise at the entirely foreseeable consequences of their action. They are not entitled, having done it in 1997 and taken credit for it in the 1998 election, to throw it over the side and say, what do you guys think this is, term limits, a promise one makes and then forgets about?

4:53 PM EDT

Marcy Kaptur, D-OH 9th

Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I just wanted to remind my colleagues that we are actually debating an amendment. Now, we have heard speeches here on social security, we have gotten into Abraham Lincoln's life, and everything else. But I become increasingly angered as I see the irresponsibility of the majority party inside this institution.

I am a loyal Member of this House, and I am rarely as partisan as some of my colleagues on this side of the aisle. But I am going to get partisan now, because a bill that I have major responsibility for is being held up on this floor because of disarray inside the Republican Party. Who it is hurting is the farmers across this country.

Mr. Chairman, I will not yield until I finish my statement to any Member on the other side of the aisle, since they are the reason for the continuing delay here today.

I have served in this Congress now for 9 terms and I have the highest respect for the chairman of our subcommittee, the gentleman from New Mexico (Mr. SKEEN), who has worked under enormous pressures of various types as we have moved this bill to the floor, the first appropriation bill to arrive on the floor, and rightly so for rural America, because no sector of this country is hurting more than rural America today.

But as I look at the record of the Republican Congress during my tenure over the last several years, last year they could not clear a bill to assist rural America. We had to end up with [Page: H3560]

that omnibus atrocity at the end of the year where we threw in some help for rural America, because they could not deal with their appropriation bills on time.

And then just last week, 6 months late, they appropriated more money under an emergency basis to try to help rural America, as well as defense and Kosovo and Hurricane Mitch victims and all of the rest. They did not do it under regular order. The only part of the bill that they required to be offset for budget purposes was the agriculture piece, the part that affected citizens of the United States of America who have paid taxes.

Now today I come down here, and what do I see? I see delay by a Member who is not up for reelection, let us put the cards right on the table; who has, according to what we have been told, between 100 and 200 amendments to an agriculture bill which is very important to rural America. So what I see today are delay tactics.

I do not understand what is going on on the Republican side of the aisle. They can check my whole career, I probably have not used the word ``Republican'' in speeches on the floor 10 times in 17 years, but I am sick of it and what they are doing on agriculture. They are holding up our bill.

I would just beg of the leadership, I will say to the leadership of their side of the aisle who voted with the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. COBURN), if this is any indication of what is about to happen over the next several days as we string this agony out and they make rural America wait again, I would just say, why do they not go back into their own little caucus and figure out what they are really for, because we have worked very hard for several months to produce this bill, and the

people of America, particularly rural America, are waiting, and they are continuing to delay.

I will specifically say to their leadership, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. ARMEY), the gentleman from Texas (Mr. DELAY), those who voted with the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. COBURN), why are they doing this? There are over 100 to 200 more amendments yet to come, and they are going to delay this bill?

If these Members want a vote on social security, bring up a social security bill. They are in the majority. They can do anything they want. But why do they continue to take it out of the hide of rural America?

I have a real problem here. I would just beg of the leadership to treat their committee chairs with respect, bring their bills to the floor in regular order, and do not nitpick us to death.

Thank God we are not the other body. We are not supposed to have filibusters here. We are supposed to move the people's business. I am here to do that as a Democrat, and I wish they were here to do that as Republicans.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE CHAIRMAN

4:53 PM EDT

Marcy Kaptur, D-OH 9th

Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I just wanted to remind my colleagues that we are actually debating an amendment. Now, we have heard speeches here on social security, we have gotten into Abraham Lincoln's life, and everything else. But I become increasingly angered as I see the irresponsibility of the majority party inside this institution.

I am a loyal Member of this House, and I am rarely as partisan as some of my colleagues on this side of the aisle. But I am going to get partisan now, because a bill that I have major responsibility for is being held up on this floor because of disarray inside the Republican Party. Who it is hurting is the farmers across this country.

Mr. Chairman, I will not yield until I finish my statement to any Member on the other side of the aisle, since they are the reason for the continuing delay here today.

I have served in this Congress now for 9 terms and I have the highest respect for the chairman of our subcommittee, the gentleman from New Mexico (Mr. SKEEN), who has worked under enormous pressures of various types as we have moved this bill to the floor, the first appropriation bill to arrive on the floor, and rightly so for rural America, because no sector of this country is hurting more than rural America today.

But as I look at the record of the Republican Congress during my tenure over the last several years, last year they could not clear a bill to assist rural America. We had to end up with [Page: H3560]

that omnibus atrocity at the end of the year where we threw in some help for rural America, because they could not deal with their appropriation bills on time.

And then just last week, 6 months late, they appropriated more money under an emergency basis to try to help rural America, as well as defense and Kosovo and Hurricane Mitch victims and all of the rest. They did not do it under regular order. The only part of the bill that they required to be offset for budget purposes was the agriculture piece, the part that affected citizens of the United States of America who have paid taxes.

Now today I come down here, and what do I see? I see delay by a Member who is not up for reelection, let us put the cards right on the table; who has, according to what we have been told, between 100 and 200 amendments to an agriculture bill which is very important to rural America. So what I see today are delay tactics.

I do not understand what is going on on the Republican side of the aisle. They can check my whole career, I probably have not used the word ``Republican'' in speeches on the floor 10 times in 17 years, but I am sick of it and what they are doing on agriculture. They are holding up our bill.

I would just beg of the leadership, I will say to the leadership of their side of the aisle who voted with the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. COBURN), if this is any indication of what is about to happen over the next several days as we string this agony out and they make rural America wait again, I would just say, why do they not go back into their own little caucus and figure out what they are really for, because we have worked very hard for several months to produce this bill, and the

people of America, particularly rural America, are waiting, and they are continuing to delay.

I will specifically say to their leadership, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. ARMEY), the gentleman from Texas (Mr. DELAY), those who voted with the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. COBURN), why are they doing this? There are over 100 to 200 more amendments yet to come, and they are going to delay this bill?

If these Members want a vote on social security, bring up a social security bill. They are in the majority. They can do anything they want. But why do they continue to take it out of the hide of rural America?

I have a real problem here. I would just beg of the leadership to treat their committee chairs with respect, bring their bills to the floor in regular order, and do not nitpick us to death.

Thank God we are not the other body. We are not supposed to have filibusters here. We are supposed to move the people's business. I am here to do that as a Democrat, and I wish they were here to do that as Republicans.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE CHAIRMAN

5:01 PM EDT

Tom Coburn M.D., R-OK 2nd

Mr. COBURN. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from California for yielding to me.

Everybody said what my intention was, but they never asked me exactly what my intention was. The reason for the number of amendments that have been offered is because the real debate is about what we are going to do with all this money that we are spending.

As a Member of this body, I think, and I think the gentlewoman from Ohio (Ms. KAPTUR) will agree, that I was just as obstructive in my desire to not spend wasteful money last year and the year before and the year before and the year before. I have not changed at all. I have been this independent ever since I have been up here, because I believe that we have an obligation to not spend one additional dollar that we do not have to.

What I hear throughout the whole body is that we cannot. We cannot be better. We cannot get better. We cannot be more efficient. That the product of the appropriation process is the best that it can be.

We all have an equal vote in here in terms of what we think and how we get a vote on certain issues. I, quite frankly, think that there are a lot of areas in this appropriation bill that we can trim spending, that will help us have money for Labor-HHS, Commerce, Justice and State, that will not have one effect on our farmers. Do my colleagues know what? Most of my farmers think so, too.

So it is not a matter of just obstructing the process, it is a matter of reestablishing confidence within this body with the American people that we said we were going to hold spending down, that we were not going to waste money, and that in fact it is really true that, if we spend $1 that we do not need to, we are stealing the future from our children.

So the debate is about Social Security because the money that we are going to end up spending is going to come from the Social Security surplus that, guess what, our children are going to have to pay back.

5:08 PM EDT

Bob Etheridge, D-NC 2nd

Mr. ETHERIDGE. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I had not planned to come and speak on this bill today. As I was over in my office and watching it, I was thinking I am sure my farmers are out in the field this afternoon, and I hope they are, working, and not seeing what was going on that would have such a dramatic impact on their lives.

We are here in an air conditioned building and, as my friend the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. LARGENT) said who just spoke from the majority side, we are in an air-conditioned building, well-lighted and comfortable; and they are out in hot fields, their lives on the line. As he said, and he put it correctly, we are having a family fight.

I am not going to get in the middle of this family fight. I am going to let my colleagues all fight it out. But I hope my colleagues will settle it, because this bill has a significant impact on the farmers in my State and the farmers all across this country.

Yes, there are other bills to come that will affect the children. But this bill does, too, because it affects the quality of family life.

I am proud to be a Member of the United States Congress. I am not proud when we bring our dirty laundry to the floor. There is nothing wrong with offering amendments. I have no problem with that. I will stay here all night and tomorrow morning, all day tomorrow. But we ought to know where we want to get to. It ought to be about getting to a destination. It ought to be about making it better rather than just to stop the process, to make a point. That is not what legislation is all about.

I am only in my second term in Congress. I served 10 years in the General Assembly in my State. I understood stalling tactics, but it ought not to be about that. It ought to be about making it better and providing a better opportunity for people in America and specifically about our family farmers, because they are hurting.

Our small farmers are going out of business. They are going broke. I have had farmers tell me, and I met with bankers, I met with someone earlier today and they said to me, ``If you do not have crop insurance, I will not make a loan. If you do not get a program in place, we are going to quit lending money.''

If that should happen, I pray to God it does not, but if that should happen, it will not happen with my vote. I trust the majority party will come to their senses and make sure it does not happen with their vote either, because we have been fortunate in America, we have been blessed, as no other country in the world, to have a bountiful food supply.

Oh, sure, there are children that do not have as much food as they should have; but over the years we have tried to do a good job. We have not done as much as we should to make sure that they are fed with the child nutrition program and other programs like that.

But, Mr. Chairman, we have a job to do. We are paid to do it. So let us get on and pass this bill and get on to the other appropriations bills and get the people's business done.