6:10 PM EDT

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

Mr. COBURN. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

Mr. Chairman, I wonder if I might inquire of the gentleman?

My understanding of this is that last year we spent $5 million in this area and that we are increasing it to 21 million 600 and some odd thousand dollars, and I profess to not understand the rationale behind that, and I would like to know where this $16 million, how it is actually going to be spent. Is that a contract with some outside firm to help the Department of Agriculture better utilize its space or to give them a strategic plan? Where is the $16 million going to be spent over this next

year, and how is it that we have a 420 percent increase?

6:10 PM EDT

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

Mr. COBURN. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

Mr. Chairman, I wonder if I might inquire of the gentleman?

My understanding of this is that last year we spent $5 million in this area and that we are increasing it to 21 million 600 and some odd thousand dollars, and I profess to not understand the rationale behind that, and I would like to know where this $16 million, how it is actually going to be spent. Is that a contract with some outside firm to help the Department of Agriculture better utilize its space or to give them a strategic plan? Where is the $16 million going to be spent over this next

year, and how is it that we have a 420 percent increase?

6:10 PM EDT

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

Mr. COBURN. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

Mr. Chairman, I wonder if I might inquire of the gentleman?

My understanding of this is that last year we spent $5 million in this area and that we are increasing it to 21 million 600 and some odd thousand dollars, and I profess to not understand the rationale behind that, and I would like to know where this $16 million, how it is actually going to be spent. Is that a contract with some outside firm to help the Department of Agriculture better utilize its space or to give them a strategic plan? Where is the $16 million going to be spent over this next

year, and how is it that we have a 420 percent increase?

6:11 PM EDT

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

Mr. COBURN. Mr. Chairman, I would again thank the gentleman for responding to that. Again, I would stand by what I just read in the committee print, which is how this money was labeled in terms of the strategic space plan, and I guess I will just have to be satisfied.

6:11 PM EDT

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

Mr. COBURN. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from New Mexico for that explanation.

I would like to read from the committee print.

The Department's headquarters staff is presently housed in a four-building, government-owned complex in downtown Washington and in leased buildings in the metropolitan Washington area. In 1995, the USDA initiated a plan to improve the delivery of USDA programs to American people, including streamlining the USDA organization. A high priority goal in the Secretary's plan is to improve the operation and effectiveness of the USDA headquarters in Washington.

To implement this goal, a strategy for efficient reallocation of space to house the restructured headquarters agencies in modern and safe facilities has been proposed. This USDA strategic plan will correct serious problems which USDA has faced in its facility program, including inefficiencies of operating out of scattered lease facilities [Page: H3567]

and serious safety hazards which exist in the huge Agriculture South Building.

During Fiscal 1998, the Beltsville office facility was completed. This facility was constructed with funds appropriated to the departments located on government-owned land in Beltsville, Maryland. Occupancy by USDA agencies began in 1998 and will be completed in 1999.

I guess my point is the same point that the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. SANFORD) had, is we are going to be trading classrooms for children, we are going to be using Social Security money to facilitate new buildings, new headquarters and new facilities for the USDA, and that does not help farmers one bit that I can figure out. It does help the people who work for the Department of Agriculture, but it does not help the farmers, and it is my hope with this kind of increase that we

could take a look at that and perhaps trim that down or eliminate it, or bring it down to something realistic because, in fact, we do have a war that is costing $15 billion thus far, and we are going to have to make some choices.

Mr. Chairman, would the gentleman like to respond to that?

6:13 PM EDT

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

Mr. COBURN. Mr. Chairman, I would again thank the gentleman for responding to that. Again, I would stand by what I just read in the committee print, which is how this money was labeled in terms of the strategic space plan, and I guess I will just have to be satisfied.

6:13 PM EDT

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

Mr. COBURN. Mr. Chairman, I would again thank the gentleman for responding to that. Again, I would stand by what I just read in the committee print, which is how this money was labeled in terms of the strategic space plan, and I guess I will just have to be satisfied.

6:14 PM EDT

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

Mr. COBURN. Okay, again I would make the point.

The point is this: There is a significant increase in this section of the bill.

[Time: 18:15]

It is $21 million in a time when we are spending money on a war, where we have made a commitment not to spend Social Security dollars to run this government, and in an area that offers nothing for our farmers.

Now, there is no question that I want more dollars to go to our farmers. That is why we spent almost $12 billion in emergency supplemental dollars last year for our farmers. That is why we advanced the Freedom to Farm payment of $5 billion last year. That is why the baseline for the agricultural bill was up $5 billion over last year, because what was appropriated in the initial appropriations was $55 billion, almost $56 billion; and when we adjust that for the emergency spending that raises the

baseline, we come to $61 billion.

6:14 PM EDT

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

Mr. COBURN. Okay, again I would make the point.

The point is this: There is a significant increase in this section of the bill.

[Time: 18:15]

It is $21 million in a time when we are spending money on a war, where we have made a commitment not to spend Social Security dollars to run this government, and in an area that offers nothing for our farmers.

Now, there is no question that I want more dollars to go to our farmers. That is why we spent almost $12 billion in emergency supplemental dollars last year for our farmers. That is why we advanced the Freedom to Farm payment of $5 billion last year. That is why the baseline for the agricultural bill was up $5 billion over last year, because what was appropriated in the initial appropriations was $55 billion, almost $56 billion; and when we adjust that for the emergency spending that raises the

baseline, we come to $61 billion.

6:15 PM EDT

John Shadegg, R-AZ 4th

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

Mr. Chairman, I rise reluctantly in support of this amendment. My good friend from New Mexico, I know has worked very hard on this legislation, and I know him to be a talented Member who works very hard. He is from my neighboring State of New Mexico, and I applaud him for his efforts. Indeed, I applaud him for his efforts throughout this legislation because I think he does a good job for the agricultural community, and this is an important piece of legislation which we are considering here today.

I certainly support all of his efforts and all that he has done to support the ag community.

However, I must rise in support of the amendment itself because of the circumstances in which we find ourselves. It seems to me that there is a proper time in the course of events when one can look at, how could we improve the situation at the Department of Agriculture buildings; how can we ensure their proper maintenance, how can we indeed perhaps strategically plan their use of space; and there is a time in the course of events when one can afford to do those kinds of things.

But my belief is that at this particular moment, this particular allocation of $21 million, a little over $21.5 million, comes at a moment in time when we face some very, very difficult challenges, challenges having to do with the confrontation we face in the Balkans, the challenge we face in meeting our commitment to the American people in other spending priorities, and particularly with regard to our overall spending plan.

It seems to me what we have done is, we have placed individual subcommittee chairmen, individual cardinals such as my good friend, the gentleman from New Mexico (Mr. SKEEN) in a difficult position, because right now, what we have done is, we have come to the floor to debate one of the 13 appropriations bills which we need to debate and which I agree we must, in fact, pass as we move forward; and I think we must pass them as expeditiously and as quickly as possible because it is our obligation

to fund the government and it is our obligation to do that in a timely fashion.

However, when we engage in that debate, we need to put it in a context in which we look at the entire spending pattern of the government.

I am now beginning to serve my fifth year in the Congress and to look at our spending priorities, and I know that when I look back at how we have handled the appropriations process in the last few years, the commitments we made to the American people when we came here and the way we have on, quite frankly, too many occasions allowed the process to spin out of control and gotten ourselves in a position where late in the game, late in the appropriations process, we cannot come to agreement, and

we wind up breaking our commitment as to how much money we should spend to fund the government. We come back and we break our word to the American people about what we are going to do in terms of putting a tax burden on them.

I think we do not engage in this overall debate and have a plan and have each bill come with a measured response that will fit into an overall plan, and what we instead do, as it appears we are doing this year, is we bank on the future, bank on a windfall, bank on extra monies coming in and kind of put off to the side the financial commitments we have made to live within our means or to put off until a later date that debate; and all we do is create problems.

Mr. Chairman, I stood on this floor and watched us year after year get into a confrontation with the President where he demands higher spending and higher spending and higher spending, but we have put ourselves in a crunch at the end of the legislative process where we have, in the end, absolutely no choice but to agree with that. I, for one, am very reluctant to ever again come to this floor, vote for a spending bill which puts us in that position at the end of the year, and then I have to go

home and look my constituents in the eye and say, yes, we did not live up to our word.

So I rise in reluctant support of the gentleman's amendment and in reluctant opposition to my good friend from New Mexico on the bill, because I think, on balance, he has done a good job on this bill. But the bill is a part of a larger mosaic, it is a part of a 13-piece puzzle.

Earlier in the day, I raised the question of how does this bill fit into our overall commitment to the American people, because I simply think we cannot break faith with the American people yet one more time, on spending.

Mr. Chairman, we have all kinds of rules back here. We live within these [Page: H3568]

budget caps and we get to talking about caps and we get to talking about the 1997 Budget Act. Quite frankly, the people back home in my district say that discussion of budget caps is a lot of inside-the-Beltway gobbledegook that they quite frankly do not understand.

However, they understand one thing. They understand fundamental principles and they understand hypocrisy. And we have put out a commitment to the American people that we will not break our word and spend one penny of the Social Security surplus. We have laid that marker down.

Now, that is not some big notion of budget caps, that is not some law dictated by something we did 5 years ago; that is a very clearly enunciated principle that says, we will not this year, once again, raid Social Security. And yet I see us, because we have all 13 pieces of this puzzle put into place, risking that commitment.

So I rise in support of the gentleman's amendment.

6:15 PM EDT

John Shadegg, R-AZ 4th

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

Mr. Chairman, I rise reluctantly in support of this amendment. My good friend from New Mexico, I know has worked very hard on this legislation, and I know him to be a talented Member who works very hard. He is from my neighboring State of New Mexico, and I applaud him for his efforts. Indeed, I applaud him for his efforts throughout this legislation because I think he does a good job for the agricultural community, and this is an important piece of legislation which we are considering here today.

I certainly support all of his efforts and all that he has done to support the ag community.

However, I must rise in support of the amendment itself because of the circumstances in which we find ourselves. It seems to me that there is a proper time in the course of events when one can look at, how could we improve the situation at the Department of Agriculture buildings; how can we ensure their proper maintenance, how can we indeed perhaps strategically plan their use of space; and there is a time in the course of events when one can afford to do those kinds of things.

But my belief is that at this particular moment, this particular allocation of $21 million, a little over $21.5 million, comes at a moment in time when we face some very, very difficult challenges, challenges having to do with the confrontation we face in the Balkans, the challenge we face in meeting our commitment to the American people in other spending priorities, and particularly with regard to our overall spending plan.

It seems to me what we have done is, we have placed individual subcommittee chairmen, individual cardinals such as my good friend, the gentleman from New Mexico (Mr. SKEEN) in a difficult position, because right now, what we have done is, we have come to the floor to debate one of the 13 appropriations bills which we need to debate and which I agree we must, in fact, pass as we move forward; and I think we must pass them as expeditiously and as quickly as possible because it is our obligation

to fund the government and it is our obligation to do that in a timely fashion.

However, when we engage in that debate, we need to put it in a context in which we look at the entire spending pattern of the government.

I am now beginning to serve my fifth year in the Congress and to look at our spending priorities, and I know that when I look back at how we have handled the appropriations process in the last few years, the commitments we made to the American people when we came here and the way we have on, quite frankly, too many occasions allowed the process to spin out of control and gotten ourselves in a position where late in the game, late in the appropriations process, we cannot come to agreement, and

we wind up breaking our commitment as to how much money we should spend to fund the government. We come back and we break our word to the American people about what we are going to do in terms of putting a tax burden on them.

I think we do not engage in this overall debate and have a plan and have each bill come with a measured response that will fit into an overall plan, and what we instead do, as it appears we are doing this year, is we bank on the future, bank on a windfall, bank on extra monies coming in and kind of put off to the side the financial commitments we have made to live within our means or to put off until a later date that debate; and all we do is create problems.

Mr. Chairman, I stood on this floor and watched us year after year get into a confrontation with the President where he demands higher spending and higher spending and higher spending, but we have put ourselves in a crunch at the end of the legislative process where we have, in the end, absolutely no choice but to agree with that. I, for one, am very reluctant to ever again come to this floor, vote for a spending bill which puts us in that position at the end of the year, and then I have to go

home and look my constituents in the eye and say, yes, we did not live up to our word.

So I rise in reluctant support of the gentleman's amendment and in reluctant opposition to my good friend from New Mexico on the bill, because I think, on balance, he has done a good job on this bill. But the bill is a part of a larger mosaic, it is a part of a 13-piece puzzle.

Earlier in the day, I raised the question of how does this bill fit into our overall commitment to the American people, because I simply think we cannot break faith with the American people yet one more time, on spending.

Mr. Chairman, we have all kinds of rules back here. We live within these [Page: H3568]

budget caps and we get to talking about caps and we get to talking about the 1997 Budget Act. Quite frankly, the people back home in my district say that discussion of budget caps is a lot of inside-the-Beltway gobbledegook that they quite frankly do not understand.

However, they understand one thing. They understand fundamental principles and they understand hypocrisy. And we have put out a commitment to the American people that we will not break our word and spend one penny of the Social Security surplus. We have laid that marker down.

Now, that is not some big notion of budget caps, that is not some law dictated by something we did 5 years ago; that is a very clearly enunciated principle that says, we will not this year, once again, raid Social Security. And yet I see us, because we have all 13 pieces of this puzzle put into place, risking that commitment.

So I rise in support of the gentleman's amendment.

6:15 PM EDT

John Shadegg, R-AZ 4th

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

Mr. Chairman, I rise reluctantly in support of this amendment. My good friend from New Mexico, I know has worked very hard on this legislation, and I know him to be a talented Member who works very hard. He is from my neighboring State of New Mexico, and I applaud him for his efforts. Indeed, I applaud him for his efforts throughout this legislation because I think he does a good job for the agricultural community, and this is an important piece of legislation which we are considering here today.

I certainly support all of his efforts and all that he has done to support the ag community.

However, I must rise in support of the amendment itself because of the circumstances in which we find ourselves. It seems to me that there is a proper time in the course of events when one can look at, how could we improve the situation at the Department of Agriculture buildings; how can we ensure their proper maintenance, how can we indeed perhaps strategically plan their use of space; and there is a time in the course of events when one can afford to do those kinds of things.

But my belief is that at this particular moment, this particular allocation of $21 million, a little over $21.5 million, comes at a moment in time when we face some very, very difficult challenges, challenges having to do with the confrontation we face in the Balkans, the challenge we face in meeting our commitment to the American people in other spending priorities, and particularly with regard to our overall spending plan.

It seems to me what we have done is, we have placed individual subcommittee chairmen, individual cardinals such as my good friend, the gentleman from New Mexico (Mr. SKEEN) in a difficult position, because right now, what we have done is, we have come to the floor to debate one of the 13 appropriations bills which we need to debate and which I agree we must, in fact, pass as we move forward; and I think we must pass them as expeditiously and as quickly as possible because it is our obligation

to fund the government and it is our obligation to do that in a timely fashion.

However, when we engage in that debate, we need to put it in a context in which we look at the entire spending pattern of the government.

I am now beginning to serve my fifth year in the Congress and to look at our spending priorities, and I know that when I look back at how we have handled the appropriations process in the last few years, the commitments we made to the American people when we came here and the way we have on, quite frankly, too many occasions allowed the process to spin out of control and gotten ourselves in a position where late in the game, late in the appropriations process, we cannot come to agreement, and

we wind up breaking our commitment as to how much money we should spend to fund the government. We come back and we break our word to the American people about what we are going to do in terms of putting a tax burden on them.

I think we do not engage in this overall debate and have a plan and have each bill come with a measured response that will fit into an overall plan, and what we instead do, as it appears we are doing this year, is we bank on the future, bank on a windfall, bank on extra monies coming in and kind of put off to the side the financial commitments we have made to live within our means or to put off until a later date that debate; and all we do is create problems.

Mr. Chairman, I stood on this floor and watched us year after year get into a confrontation with the President where he demands higher spending and higher spending and higher spending, but we have put ourselves in a crunch at the end of the legislative process where we have, in the end, absolutely no choice but to agree with that. I, for one, am very reluctant to ever again come to this floor, vote for a spending bill which puts us in that position at the end of the year, and then I have to go

home and look my constituents in the eye and say, yes, we did not live up to our word.

So I rise in reluctant support of the gentleman's amendment and in reluctant opposition to my good friend from New Mexico on the bill, because I think, on balance, he has done a good job on this bill. But the bill is a part of a larger mosaic, it is a part of a 13-piece puzzle.

Earlier in the day, I raised the question of how does this bill fit into our overall commitment to the American people, because I simply think we cannot break faith with the American people yet one more time, on spending.

Mr. Chairman, we have all kinds of rules back here. We live within these [Page: H3568]

budget caps and we get to talking about caps and we get to talking about the 1997 Budget Act. Quite frankly, the people back home in my district say that discussion of budget caps is a lot of inside-the-Beltway gobbledegook that they quite frankly do not understand.

However, they understand one thing. They understand fundamental principles and they understand hypocrisy. And we have put out a commitment to the American people that we will not break our word and spend one penny of the Social Security surplus. We have laid that marker down.

Now, that is not some big notion of budget caps, that is not some law dictated by something we did 5 years ago; that is a very clearly enunciated principle that says, we will not this year, once again, raid Social Security. And yet I see us, because we have all 13 pieces of this puzzle put into place, risking that commitment.

So I rise in support of the gentleman's amendment.

6:21 PM EDT

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

Mr. COBURN. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for his comments.

Mr. Chairman, I think one of the important things, and I have discovered, thanks to the chairman and his committee staff, that we do in fact have a drafting error on this amendment; and I am going to in a minute ask for unanimous consent for that drafting error to be changed. If it is not agreed to, then I will withdraw the amendment.

But I think the real question is, if we took a poll of farmers out there on whether or not we ought to have a 420 percent increase in this area, what would they say right now? They would not just say no; they would be screaming up and down, saying no, because they know not one penny of this money are they ever going to see, and they know it is going to be spent in Washington.

I mean, that is what the committee print talks about, about space needs and organizing the space for the bureaucracy that is in the Department of Agriculture. So I think it would be an interesting question as to what farmers who are actually out there struggling, what cattlemen would say about a 420 percent increase for this area in the Department of Agriculture.

It would be my hope that we would agree with what the farmers would say. I know what the farmers from my district would say and I know what the ranchers would say.

6:21 PM EDT

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

Mr. COBURN. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for his comments.

Mr. Chairman, I think one of the important things, and I have discovered, thanks to the chairman and his committee staff, that we do in fact have a drafting error on this amendment; and I am going to in a minute ask for unanimous consent for that drafting error to be changed. If it is not agreed to, then I will withdraw the amendment.

But I think the real question is, if we took a poll of farmers out there on whether or not we ought to have a 420 percent increase in this area, what would they say right now? They would not just say no; they would be screaming up and down, saying no, because they know not one penny of this money are they ever going to see, and they know it is going to be spent in Washington.

I mean, that is what the committee print talks about, about space needs and organizing the space for the bureaucracy that is in the Department of Agriculture. So I think it would be an interesting question as to what farmers who are actually out there struggling, what cattlemen would say about a 420 percent increase for this area in the Department of Agriculture.

It would be my hope that we would agree with what the farmers would say. I know what the farmers from my district would say and I know what the ranchers would say.

6:21 PM EDT

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

Mr. COBURN. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for his comments.

Mr. Chairman, I think one of the important things, and I have discovered, thanks to the chairman and his committee staff, that we do in fact have a drafting error on this amendment; and I am going to in a minute ask for unanimous consent for that drafting error to be changed. If it is not agreed to, then I will withdraw the amendment.

But I think the real question is, if we took a poll of farmers out there on whether or not we ought to have a 420 percent increase in this area, what would they say right now? They would not just say no; they would be screaming up and down, saying no, because they know not one penny of this money are they ever going to see, and they know it is going to be spent in Washington.

I mean, that is what the committee print talks about, about space needs and organizing the space for the bureaucracy that is in the Department of Agriculture. So I think it would be an interesting question as to what farmers who are actually out there struggling, what cattlemen would say about a 420 percent increase for this area in the Department of Agriculture.

It would be my hope that we would agree with what the farmers would say. I know what the farmers from my district would say and I know what the ranchers would say.

6:21 PM EDT

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

Mr. COBURN. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for his comments.

Mr. Chairman, I think one of the important things, and I have discovered, thanks to the chairman and his committee staff, that we do in fact have a drafting error on this amendment; and I am going to in a minute ask for unanimous consent for that drafting error to be changed. If it is not agreed to, then I will withdraw the amendment.

But I think the real question is, if we took a poll of farmers out there on whether or not we ought to have a 420 percent increase in this area, what would they say right now? They would not just say no; they would be screaming up and down, saying no, because they know not one penny of this money are they ever going to see, and they know it is going to be spent in Washington.

I mean, that is what the committee print talks about, about space needs and organizing the space for the bureaucracy that is in the Department of Agriculture. So I think it would be an interesting question as to what farmers who are actually out there struggling, what cattlemen would say about a 420 percent increase for this area in the Department of Agriculture.

It would be my hope that we would agree with what the farmers would say. I know what the farmers from my district would say and I know what the ranchers would say.

6:23 PM EDT

Marcy Kaptur, D-OH 9th

Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

Mr. Chairman, I just wanted to mention in regard to this amendment, which apparently has been withdrawn, it is just another example of misfeasance on the other side of the aisle trying to write legislation on the floor, not carefully thought through, never brought before the committee, account numbers even wrong on the amendment that is proposed.

Now, I think the gentleman in his heart probably is trying to do what is right for the country, but again, the people that suffer from these kinds of ill-advised amendments are the people in rural America; and if the gentleman is not running for office again, that means the gentleman is really not accountable to them for his actions here today. This is just another example where we have been subjected to using our time as we watch the gentleman try to rewrite and correct this amendment on the

floor.

At the same time, we have had more bankruptcies today across this country. Some of the people that the gentleman really derides, that the gentleman says work in these buildings, they are the people that administer the programs that are trying to serve the farmers and the ranchers of this country, and I have great respect for them. A lot of them have given their lives over to the service of the American people. They are the finest, most educated, most dedicated employees anywhere in the world.

As I have traveled the world and I have looked at agriculture in other places, and I have seen the faces of hungry people, and I have watched nations unable to take the best information available to humankind and make it available to those in the field, I understand how important these people are to America. We not only feed our own country, we feed the world. That does not happen by accident.

Frankly, I do not want people to have to work in dilapidated circumstances with bad air-conditioning and bad heating systems and bad ventilation. I want the best for America. I want the best for our people to be able to serve the public, which is what we are here to do.

I really think that whoever advised the gentleman on this amendment obviously was not studying the legislation very carefully, and I wish the gentleman had come before our subcommittee. We have a fine chairman. We have never had a better subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations than the Subcommittee on Agriculture. We would have been open. We would have worked with the gentleman. The gentleman never did that; the gentleman never made an appearance. I do not think he ever sent us a letter.

I just want to put that on the Record.

REQUEST FOR MODIFICATION OFFERED BY MR. COBURN TO THE AMENDMENT OFFERED BY MR. SANFORD

6:26 PM EDT

Bill Young, R-FL 10th

Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Chairman, reserving the right to object, I do so to try to get an indication of how many amendments we might be considering here tonight. I have heard that there might be as many as 130 amendments offered just to filibuster this bill. If that is the case, we are just going to rise and move on to other business.

So I wonder if we can get an idea from any of the Members that are present if we are going to consider 130 amendments tonight, or whether we are going to consider 20. I would like to know where we are, because if we are going to have to go all night long, I am going to object to every opportunity that would slow down the process.

6:27 PM EDT

Bill Young, R-FL 10th

Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Chairman, reserving the right to object, I do so to try to get an indication of how many amendments we might be considering here tonight. I have heard that there might be as many as 130 amendments offered just to filibuster this bill. If that is the case, we are just going to rise and move on to other business.

So I wonder if we can get an idea from any of the Members that are present if we are going to consider 130 amendments tonight, or whether we are going to consider 20. I would like to know where we are, because if we are going to have to go all night long, I am going to object to every opportunity that would slow down the process.

6:27 PM EDT

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

Mr. COBURN. Mr. Chairman, it is my intention, as I stated during the general debate and during the rule, to do everything I can to bring this bill back in line with last year's spending and do it in such a way that will not affect farmers, but will affect the overhead costs that are oftentimes markedly inefficient. [Page: H3569]

6:27 PM EDT

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

Mr. COBURN. Mr. Chairman, it is my intention, as I stated during the general debate and during the rule, to do everything I can to bring this bill back in line with last year's spending and do it in such a way that will not affect farmers, but will affect the overhead costs that are oftentimes markedly inefficient. [Page: H3569]

6:27 PM EDT

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

Mr. COBURN. Mr. Chairman, it is my intention, as I stated during the general debate and during the rule, to do everything I can to bring this bill back in line with last year's spending and do it in such a way that will not affect farmers, but will affect the overhead costs that are oftentimes markedly inefficient. [Page: H3569]

6:28 PM EDT

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

Mr. COBURN. Mr. Chairman, if the gentleman will continue to yield, we are $500,000 closer to that after the last amendment that the House agreed to in terms of trimming. That means we only have $249,500,000 to go. Some of those amendments are $60 and $70 million, some of them are $200,000. When we achieve last year's freeze level, then I will stop offering amendments.

6:28 PM EDT

Marcy Kaptur, D-OH 9th

Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank the gentleman for reserving the right to object, and I wanted to state that to our knowledge, we have been given a minimum of 20 amendments by the Clerk. We have been told there are an additional 80 amendments that have been filed, and there may be more of which we are not aware.

As the gentleman may know, we have been on the floor this afternoon having to consider amendments we have never seen. In fact, on this current amendment, it is unclear to us whether line 12 of page 5 is included in the amendment or not.

So I would support the gentleman in his efforts to try to put some rational process in place here. I realize we are in the minority, but I think our Members have a right to be informed as to what is going on, because they are coming up to me, and I would prefer to have a more orderly process.

[Time: 18:30]

6:29 PM EDT

Sam Farr, D-CA 17th

Mr. FARR of California. Mr. Chairman, for the other gentleman who was talking about trying to bring us back to last year's budget, as we told him in the initial discussions, there have been $6.4 billion below what we spent in agriculture last year. This bill is way under. In fact, it is 31 percent less than what was spent on agriculture last year.

I think that we met the mark, and these amendments are essentially a filibuster tactic that are frivolous.

6:29 PM EDT

Sam Farr, D-CA 17th

Mr. FARR of California. Mr. Chairman, for the other gentleman who was talking about trying to bring us back to last year's budget, as we told him in the initial discussions, there have been $6.4 billion below what we spent in agriculture last year. This bill is way under. In fact, it is 31 percent less than what was spent on agriculture last year.

I think that we met the mark, and these amendments are essentially a filibuster tactic that are frivolous.

6:30 PM EDT

Earl Pomeroy, D-ND

Mr. POMEROY. Reserving the right to object, Mr. Chairman, I must say that I am profoundly surprised by what is occurring on the floor. I represent farmers, and these farmers are in a world of hurt.

A bill comes to the floor, the agriculture appropriations bill, prepared and reported out of the committee with a bipartisan vote within the appropriations allocation assigned to that committee, and we begin to see a slew of amendments, amendments that would eviscerate the help my farmers need.

Now we see, with the unanimous consent request before this body, just what haphazard nonsense these amendments are. They have not been printed, they have not been distributed. We have had no notice. They are not even accurate.

Now the Member seeks unanimous consent to correct his amendment on the floor as we meet as a Committee of the Whole, because he did not even go to the preparation of getting it in proper form before bringing it to us. We have also heard in the preceding discussion that we can expect more than 100 similar amendments to be offered from this Member.

Back in North Dakota, just like all across this country, farmers are trying to get their spring financing together. They are trying to get their crop in. They are trying to figure out how they are going to make it another year, in light of the financial trouble they are under.

Here in Congress, we cannot even get an agriculture appropriations bill out of this Chamber without having Members of this body attack this bill in this fashion. It is shameful.

The only thing that is more shameful than the amendments themselves is the fact that they have had the support of the majority leadership, leadership which we are led to believe gave no notice to the subcommittee chairman that his budget was going to come under attack in this fashion.

The gentleman from Texas (Mr. ARMEY), the majority leader, and the gentleman from Texas (Mr. DELAY) owe it to the farmers of this country to stop these amendments and get this bill out.

Mr. Chairman, I object to the Member trying to correct his amendment. If he wanted to have this amendment considered, he should have had it in proper form the first time.

6:30 PM EDT

Earl Pomeroy, D-ND

Mr. POMEROY. Reserving the right to object, Mr. Chairman, I must say that I am profoundly surprised by what is occurring on the floor. I represent farmers, and these farmers are in a world of hurt.

A bill comes to the floor, the agriculture appropriations bill, prepared and reported out of the committee with a bipartisan vote within the appropriations allocation assigned to that committee, and we begin to see a slew of amendments, amendments that would eviscerate the help my farmers need.

Now we see, with the unanimous consent request before this body, just what haphazard nonsense these amendments are. They have not been printed, they have not been distributed. We have had no notice. They are not even accurate.

Now the Member seeks unanimous consent to correct his amendment on the floor as we meet as a Committee of the Whole, because he did not even go to the preparation of getting it in proper form before bringing it to us. We have also heard in the preceding discussion that we can expect more than 100 similar amendments to be offered from this Member.

Back in North Dakota, just like all across this country, farmers are trying to get their spring financing together. They are trying to get their crop in. They are trying to figure out how they are going to make it another year, in light of the financial trouble they are under.

Here in Congress, we cannot even get an agriculture appropriations bill out of this Chamber without having Members of this body attack this bill in this fashion. It is shameful.

The only thing that is more shameful than the amendments themselves is the fact that they have had the support of the majority leadership, leadership which we are led to believe gave no notice to the subcommittee chairman that his budget was going to come under attack in this fashion.

The gentleman from Texas (Mr. ARMEY), the majority leader, and the gentleman from Texas (Mr. DELAY) owe it to the farmers of this country to stop these amendments and get this bill out.

Mr. Chairman, I object to the Member trying to correct his amendment. If he wanted to have this amendment considered, he should have had it in proper form the first time.

6:30 PM EDT

Earl Pomeroy, D-ND

Mr. POMEROY. Reserving the right to object, Mr. Chairman, I must say that I am profoundly surprised by what is occurring on the floor. I represent farmers, and these farmers are in a world of hurt.

A bill comes to the floor, the agriculture appropriations bill, prepared and reported out of the committee with a bipartisan vote within the appropriations allocation assigned to that committee, and we begin to see a slew of amendments, amendments that would eviscerate the help my farmers need.

Now we see, with the unanimous consent request before this body, just what haphazard nonsense these amendments are. They have not been printed, they have not been distributed. We have had no notice. They are not even accurate.

Now the Member seeks unanimous consent to correct his amendment on the floor as we meet as a Committee of the Whole, because he did not even go to the preparation of getting it in proper form before bringing it to us. We have also heard in the preceding discussion that we can expect more than 100 similar amendments to be offered from this Member.

Back in North Dakota, just like all across this country, farmers are trying to get their spring financing together. They are trying to get their crop in. They are trying to figure out how they are going to make it another year, in light of the financial trouble they are under.

Here in Congress, we cannot even get an agriculture appropriations bill out of this Chamber without having Members of this body attack this bill in this fashion. It is shameful.

The only thing that is more shameful than the amendments themselves is the fact that they have had the support of the majority leadership, leadership which we are led to believe gave no notice to the subcommittee chairman that his budget was going to come under attack in this fashion.

The gentleman from Texas (Mr. ARMEY), the majority leader, and the gentleman from Texas (Mr. DELAY) owe it to the farmers of this country to stop these amendments and get this bill out.

Mr. Chairman, I object to the Member trying to correct his amendment. If he wanted to have this amendment considered, he should have had it in proper form the first time.

6:30 PM EDT

Earl Pomeroy, D-ND

Mr. POMEROY. Reserving the right to object, Mr. Chairman, I must say that I am profoundly surprised by what is occurring on the floor. I represent farmers, and these farmers are in a world of hurt.

A bill comes to the floor, the agriculture appropriations bill, prepared and reported out of the committee with a bipartisan vote within the appropriations allocation assigned to that committee, and we begin to see a slew of amendments, amendments that would eviscerate the help my farmers need.

Now we see, with the unanimous consent request before this body, just what haphazard nonsense these amendments are. They have not been printed, they have not been distributed. We have had no notice. They are not even accurate.

Now the Member seeks unanimous consent to correct his amendment on the floor as we meet as a Committee of the Whole, because he did not even go to the preparation of getting it in proper form before bringing it to us. We have also heard in the preceding discussion that we can expect more than 100 similar amendments to be offered from this Member.

Back in North Dakota, just like all across this country, farmers are trying to get their spring financing together. They are trying to get their crop in. They are trying to figure out how they are going to make it another year, in light of the financial trouble they are under.

Here in Congress, we cannot even get an agriculture appropriations bill out of this Chamber without having Members of this body attack this bill in this fashion. It is shameful.

The only thing that is more shameful than the amendments themselves is the fact that they have had the support of the majority leadership, leadership which we are led to believe gave no notice to the subcommittee chairman that his budget was going to come under attack in this fashion.

The gentleman from Texas (Mr. ARMEY), the majority leader, and the gentleman from Texas (Mr. DELAY) owe it to the farmers of this country to stop these amendments and get this bill out.

Mr. Chairman, I object to the Member trying to correct his amendment. If he wanted to have this amendment considered, he should have had it in proper form the first time.

6:30 PM EDT

Earl Pomeroy, D-ND

Mr. POMEROY. Reserving the right to object, Mr. Chairman, I must say that I am profoundly surprised by what is occurring on the floor. I represent farmers, and these farmers are in a world of hurt.

A bill comes to the floor, the agriculture appropriations bill, prepared and reported out of the committee with a bipartisan vote within the appropriations allocation assigned to that committee, and we begin to see a slew of amendments, amendments that would eviscerate the help my farmers need.

Now we see, with the unanimous consent request before this body, just what haphazard nonsense these amendments are. They have not been printed, they have not been distributed. We have had no notice. They are not even accurate.

Now the Member seeks unanimous consent to correct his amendment on the floor as we meet as a Committee of the Whole, because he did not even go to the preparation of getting it in proper form before bringing it to us. We have also heard in the preceding discussion that we can expect more than 100 similar amendments to be offered from this Member.

Back in North Dakota, just like all across this country, farmers are trying to get their spring financing together. They are trying to get their crop in. They are trying to figure out how they are going to make it another year, in light of the financial trouble they are under.

Here in Congress, we cannot even get an agriculture appropriations bill out of this Chamber without having Members of this body attack this bill in this fashion. It is shameful.

The only thing that is more shameful than the amendments themselves is the fact that they have had the support of the majority leadership, leadership which we are led to believe gave no notice to the subcommittee chairman that his budget was going to come under attack in this fashion.

The gentleman from Texas (Mr. ARMEY), the majority leader, and the gentleman from Texas (Mr. DELAY) owe it to the farmers of this country to stop these amendments and get this bill out.

Mr. Chairman, I object to the Member trying to correct his amendment. If he wanted to have this amendment considered, he should have had it in proper form the first time.

6:31 PM EDT

Earl Pomeroy, D-ND

Mr. POMEROY. Reserving the right to object, Mr. Chairman, I must say that I am profoundly surprised by what is occurring on the floor. I represent farmers, and these farmers are in a world of hurt.

A bill comes to the floor, the agriculture appropriations bill, prepared and reported out of the committee with a bipartisan vote within the appropriations allocation assigned to that committee, and we begin to see a slew of amendments, amendments that would eviscerate the help my farmers need.

Now we see, with the unanimous consent request before this body, just what haphazard nonsense these amendments are. They have not been printed, they have not been distributed. We have had no notice. They are not even accurate.

Now the Member seeks unanimous consent to correct his amendment on the floor as we meet as a Committee of the Whole, because he did not even go to the preparation of getting it in proper form before bringing it to us. We have also heard in the preceding discussion that we can expect more than 100 similar amendments to be offered from this Member.

Back in North Dakota, just like all across this country, farmers are trying to get their spring financing together. They are trying to get their crop in. They are trying to figure out how they are going to make it another year, in light of the financial trouble they are under.

Here in Congress, we cannot even get an agriculture appropriations bill out of this Chamber without having Members of this body attack this bill in this fashion. It is shameful.

The only thing that is more shameful than the amendments themselves is the fact that they have had the support of the majority leadership, leadership which we are led to believe gave no notice to the subcommittee chairman that his budget was going to come under attack in this fashion.

The gentleman from Texas (Mr. ARMEY), the majority leader, and the gentleman from Texas (Mr. DELAY) owe it to the farmers of this country to stop these amendments and get this bill out.

Mr. Chairman, I object to the Member trying to correct his amendment. If he wanted to have this amendment considered, he should have had it in proper form the first time.

6:31 PM EDT

Earl Pomeroy, D-ND

Mr. POMEROY. Reserving the right to object, Mr. Chairman, I must say that I am profoundly surprised by what is occurring on the floor. I represent farmers, and these farmers are in a world of hurt.

A bill comes to the floor, the agriculture appropriations bill, prepared and reported out of the committee with a bipartisan vote within the appropriations allocation assigned to that committee, and we begin to see a slew of amendments, amendments that would eviscerate the help my farmers need.

Now we see, with the unanimous consent request before this body, just what haphazard nonsense these amendments are. They have not been printed, they have not been distributed. We have had no notice. They are not even accurate.

Now the Member seeks unanimous consent to correct his amendment on the floor as we meet as a Committee of the Whole, because he did not even go to the preparation of getting it in proper form before bringing it to us. We have also heard in the preceding discussion that we can expect more than 100 similar amendments to be offered from this Member.

Back in North Dakota, just like all across this country, farmers are trying to get their spring financing together. They are trying to get their crop in. They are trying to figure out how they are going to make it another year, in light of the financial trouble they are under.

Here in Congress, we cannot even get an agriculture appropriations bill out of this Chamber without having Members of this body attack this bill in this fashion. It is shameful.

The only thing that is more shameful than the amendments themselves is the fact that they have had the support of the majority leadership, leadership which we are led to believe gave no notice to the subcommittee chairman that his budget was going to come under attack in this fashion.

The gentleman from Texas (Mr. ARMEY), the majority leader, and the gentleman from Texas (Mr. DELAY) owe it to the farmers of this country to stop these amendments and get this bill out.

Mr. Chairman, I object to the Member trying to correct his amendment. If he wanted to have this amendment considered, he should have had it in proper form the first time.

6:34 PM EDT

James T. Walsh, R-NY 25th

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

Mr. Chairman, I rise, and not on a specific amendment, but on this process that we are following under.

As I said earlier in the debate, I respect the gentleman's right to offer amendments. I respect the principle that he is trying to uphold by reducing the size of this budget. I do not think he is trying to gut the services and the programs that the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides to our constituents.

I would remind my colleagues that this bill does not become law for at least 4 months, so there is nothing wrong with debate. However, there is something wrong with dilatory tactics. That is exactly what this seems to be. But I am going to offer the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. COBURN) who is offering these amendments a chance to prove me wrong.

What I would ask him is, if the purpose of this is to reduce the bill to last year's level, or to get to the level that he would like to see us at with this bill, would the gentleman agree to take all these amendments, make them en bloc, and present them as one amendment so that we can deal with this issue right now, and get the work of this bill done?

Would the gentleman take all these amendments and roll them into one, offer them en bloc, $249 million, and give the body the opportunity to vote up or down? If that is the gentleman's point, then I would ask the gentleman to please respect the Congress, respect the House, respect this debate process, respect the chairman, certainly, who has worked endlessly on this, and give us the opportunity to vote on this up or down, one vote.

6:37 PM EDT

James T. Walsh, R-NY 25th

Mr. WALSH. Reclaiming my time, Mr. Chairman, I would again offer the gentleman the opportunity to, with the help of the Parliamentarian, roll all these amendments into one to accomplish his goal, which is, I think, an honest goal, something he believes in; roll them into one, give us an en bloc amendment, let us vote up or down on this, and then move forward on the really additionally important aspects of this bill, which is the agriculture policies and feeding policies of the Nation.

6:37 PM EDT

James T. Walsh, R-NY 25th

Mr. WALSH. Reclaiming my time, Mr. Chairman, I would again offer the gentleman the opportunity to, with the help of the Parliamentarian, roll all these amendments into one to accomplish his goal, which is, I think, an honest goal, something he believes in; roll them into one, give us an en bloc amendment, let us vote up or down on this, and then move forward on the really additionally important aspects of this bill, which is the agriculture policies and feeding policies of the Nation.

6:37 PM EDT

James T. Walsh, R-NY 25th

Mr. WALSH. Reclaiming my time, Mr. Chairman, I would again offer the gentleman the opportunity to, with the help of the Parliamentarian, roll all these amendments into one to accomplish his goal, which is, I think, an honest goal, something he believes in; roll them into one, give us an en bloc amendment, let us vote up or down on this, and then move forward on the really additionally important aspects of this bill, which is the agriculture policies and feeding policies of the Nation.

6:38 PM EDT

James T. Walsh, R-NY 25th

Mr. WALSH. Reclaiming my time, Mr. Chairman, I would again offer the gentleman the opportunity to, with the help of the Parliamentarian, roll all these amendments into one to accomplish his goal, which is, I think, an honest goal, something he believes in; roll them into one, give us an en bloc amendment, let us vote up or down on this, and then move forward on the really additionally important aspects of this bill, which is the agriculture policies and feeding policies of the Nation.

6:40 PM EDT

Bill Young, R-FL 10th

Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I listened with great interest to the gentleman from New York as he made his comment about dilatory tactics, and the comments that I have made earlier about an apparent filibuster.

I am looking at a Dear Republican Colleague letter here, I guess it was an e-mail, that was forwarded through several people and finally was sent to the Committee on Appropriations staff.

It says, ``I just submitted 115 amendments to the Agriculture Appropriations bill. It is my intent to first oppose the Rule for the Agriculture Appropriations bill and should the rule be adopted, then proceed to filibuster the bill with amendments.'' The signature line is the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. COBURN).

So the fact of the matter is he has admitted this is a filibuster. We ought to get to the business of the House. We do not have filibuster rules in the House. They do in the other body. Here, we deal with important legislation that has merit and that has some substance.

The gentleman himself has admitted this is a filibuster. If the Members of the House want to go along with a filibuster, then we will stay here until the wee hours of the morning, but if they really are not pleased with sitting here just spinning our wheels on a filibuster, then we will proceed to vote these down, and we will not extend anybody's time limit.

6:42 PM EDT

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

Mr. COBURN. We are on the same side, we are just maybe talking past each other. Mr. Chairman, $500,000 in Florida, in South Carolina, and Oklahoma is substantial money. This last amendment was $15 million difference, bringing it back down. That is substantial money.

If we do that at $15 million a clip, it is not going to be long until we have the $250-some million that we are trying to get to get back down to last year's level.

6:44 PM EDT

Gilbert Gutknecht, R-MN 1st

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

[Time: 18:45]

Mr. Chairman, I just want to admonish everybody, first of all, that it is a violation of House rules to question the motives of other Members. I just want to make it clear, whether one agrees with these amendments or one disagrees with the amendments, clearly the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. COBURN) has every right to offer these amendments.

Also, I want to say something else. I have been listening to the debate and watching on C-SPAN back in my office. It bothers me a little bit right now. I represent a farm State, and my farmers are hurting, and that is the truth, and all of my colleagues should know that.

But I will tell my colleagues something else, my farmers do not want to steal from the Social Security Trust Fund either. Frankly, they feel a bit abused sometimes when people say things like, well, we have to do this because of the farmers. They do not want this huge bureaucracy that we have here in Washington.

I mean, this amendment, as far as I know, deals with $21 million for new buildings. I will tell my colleagues, on behalf of most of my farmers, if one asks them, ``Do you think we ought to build $21 million worth of new buildings for more bureaucracy in Washington, and at the end of the day be [Page: H3571]

forced to take that money out of Social Security Trust Funds or to borrow it from our grandchildren for one more generation,'' the answer to that question is no.

I mean, this idea that we have to patronize farmers, farmers are Americans, too, and they care about their future. They care about their kids' future. They care about the future of the Social Security Trust Fund. They care about these things, too. So I care about what is happening to farmers.

But I think the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. COBURN) is raising some very, very good points. For too long in this Congress, every year, we did what I call ``manana'' budgeting. We will make the tough decisions ``manana''. We will make the tough decisions next year. Well next year is here and we have got to make some of those tough decisions.

I supported that budget resolution. Frankly, a couple of weeks ago we had that vote on the emergency supplemental. I voted against it because I thought that was the first crack in the wall. We are going to see this happening on every single appropriation bill.

Let me just remind Members, the people of this country did not send us here to do what was easy. This is tough. Balancing this budget is not going to be easy this year. In fact, in some respects it is harder now because we, quote, have a surplus, and everybody, every group that I can imagine has been in my office saying ``We just want a little bit of an increase here. If we could, just squeeze out a little more money for my program.'' Do my colleagues know what happens when we do that? We never

balance the budget. We continue to steal from Social Security.

I care about my farmers. Let me tell my colleagues something. My farmers care about this budget. They care about the future of this country. They care about Social Security. I admire the gentleman for bringing this amendment.

6:47 PM EDT

Marcy Kaptur, D-OH 9th

Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Chairman, the gentleman's objective of trying to deal with the budget is a worthy objective. Can I ask the gentleman, since he is in the majority party and we, as the appropriators, and I particularly in the minority, have had to abide by the budget caps they gave us, and we have done that on this Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, why do my colleagues not go back and redo the budget rather than put our subcommittees

through this agony on the floor? I am missing something here.

6:47 PM EDT

Gilbert Gutknecht, R-MN 1st

Mr. GUTKNECHT. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, if my colleagues ask the average American, whether they are a farmer or a machinist, whether they live in Ohio or Minnesota, if my colleagues ask them, ``Do you think the Federal Government can meet the legitimate needs of the people of this country, of the national defense, and of all the people who depend upon the Federal Government, do you believe that the Federal Government can live with spending only $1,700 billion, do my colleagues know what?

If they ask that question, whether it is in Ohio or Minnesota or Oklahoma, if my colleagues ask people, ``Do you think we can meet the legitimate needs of the United States of America, spending only $1,700 billion?'' they will say, ``You betcha.'' Seventeen hundred billion dollars is a lot of money.

That is what the spending cap is all about, saying that is all we are going to spend. We are going to have an argument and a fight about how much is going to go to defense, how much is going to go to agriculture, how much is going to go to transportation, all the other departments; but at the end of the day, we ought to live by these spending caps.

I believe in the spending caps. In fact, I have heard leadership on the other side, I have heard leadership in the Senate, I have even heard the President of the United States say we are going to live by the spending caps. Well, this is the first installment to find out if we really mean it.

6:49 PM EDT

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

Mr. COBURN. Mr. Chairman, if I am not incorrect, and I will be happy to be corrected on this, we still have the amendment before us that was rejected in terms of it; and if we have spoken, we can not speak again. I am not sure I recall whether the gentlewoman from Ohio (Ms. KAPTUR) has spoken or not.

6:49 PM EDT

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

Mr. COBURN. Mr. Chairman, if I am not incorrect, and I will be happy to be corrected on this, we still have the amendment before us that was rejected in terms of it; and if we have spoken, we can not speak again. I am not sure I recall whether the gentlewoman from Ohio (Ms. KAPTUR) has spoken or not.

6:49 PM EDT

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

Mr. COBURN. Mr. Chairman, if I am not incorrect, and I will be happy to be corrected on this, we still have the amendment before us that was rejected in terms of it; and if we have spoken, we can not speak again. I am not sure I recall whether the gentlewoman from Ohio (Ms. KAPTUR) has spoken or not.

6:50 PM EDT

Marcy Kaptur, D-OH 9th

Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Chairman, in terms of how the Members of our side of the aisle functioned, we accepted the budget numbers that were given us and we acted in good faith on our subcommittee.

We have produced a bill that meets the budget mark that we were given. So, therefore, to rip apart the bill because maybe my colleagues do not like some provision in the bill, they want to do something else with it, well, I think most Members come to the floor but they do not come with 150 or 200 amendments. We operated in good faith here.

I will tell my colleagues it is a little hard to maintain it as the hours go on here today, but the point is, if my colleagues do not like the budget, go back and redo the budget. Do not pick apart every appropriation bill that comes to the floor.

We have lived within our budget. Let our committee function. Frankly, my colleagues really risk great damage to this Republic, because we could end up where we were last year when the majority here rammed that big bill through here at the end of the year because we could not complete our appropriation bills on time and on schedule.

Here we are here in the Committee on Agriculture, because of the crisis in rural America, on time with our bill, within the allocation we are given; and now my colleagues are holding us up again. I fear that the very same mess that was created last year is going to repeat itself this year.

So if my colleagues have a problem with the allocation, go back to their budgeteers; work the problem out there. But when we have subcommittees acting in good faith and doing their job, do not disenfranchise them. I think that is the height of my colleagues' responsibility inside the Chamber.

6:50 PM EDT

Marcy Kaptur, D-OH 9th

Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Chairman, in terms of how the Members of our side of the aisle functioned, we accepted the budget numbers that were given us and we acted in good faith on our subcommittee.

We have produced a bill that meets the budget mark that we were given. So, therefore, to rip apart the bill because maybe my colleagues do not like some provision in the bill, they want to do something else with it, well, I think most Members come to the floor but they do not come with 150 or 200 amendments. We operated in good faith here.

I will tell my colleagues it is a little hard to maintain it as the hours go on here today, but the point is, if my colleagues do not like the budget, go back and redo the budget. Do not pick apart every appropriation bill that comes to the floor.

We have lived within our budget. Let our committee function. Frankly, my colleagues really risk great damage to this Republic, because we could end up where we were last year when the majority here rammed that big bill through here at the end of the year because we could not complete our appropriation bills on time and on schedule.

Here we are here in the Committee on Agriculture, because of the crisis in rural America, on time with our bill, within the allocation we are given; and now my colleagues are holding us up again. I fear that the very same mess that was created last year is going to repeat itself this year.

So if my colleagues have a problem with the allocation, go back to their budgeteers; work the problem out there. But when we have subcommittees acting in good faith and doing their job, do not disenfranchise them. I think that is the height of my colleagues' responsibility inside the Chamber.

6:50 PM EDT

Marcy Kaptur, D-OH 9th

Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Chairman, in terms of how the Members of our side of the aisle functioned, we accepted the budget numbers that were given us and we acted in good faith on our subcommittee.

We have produced a bill that meets the budget mark that we were given. So, therefore, to rip apart the bill because maybe my colleagues do not like some provision in the bill, they want to do something else with it, well, I think most Members come to the floor but they do not come with 150 or 200 amendments. We operated in good faith here.

I will tell my colleagues it is a little hard to maintain it as the hours go on here today, but the point is, if my colleagues do not like the budget, go back and redo the budget. Do not pick apart every appropriation bill that comes to the floor.

We have lived within our budget. Let our committee function. Frankly, my colleagues really risk great damage to this Republic, because we could end up where we were last year when the majority here rammed that big bill through here at the end of the year because we could not complete our appropriation bills on time and on schedule.

Here we are here in the Committee on Agriculture, because of the crisis in rural America, on time with our bill, within the allocation we are given; and now my colleagues are holding us up again. I fear that the very same mess that was created last year is going to repeat itself this year.

So if my colleagues have a problem with the allocation, go back to their budgeteers; work the problem out there. But when we have subcommittees acting in good faith and doing their job, do not disenfranchise them. I think that is the height of my colleagues' responsibility inside the Chamber.

6:56 PM EDT

Tom Latham, R-IA 5th

Mr. LATHAM. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, I will tell the gentleman we have heard the debate this afternoon. But why does the gentleman not talk to somebody who has been involved in an issue like this for 3 years now, trying to get the chief information officer to straighten out the travesty that is going on at USDA, where we have got 29 agencies down there, smokestacks, which each have their own computer system, cannot talk to each other, they cannot even e-mail from the north building to

the south building. We are trying to fix that.

Five hundred thousand dollars, maybe my colleagues do not think that is a big deal, but it is in a nonfunctional agency that is trying to straighten itself out. It will hurt our farmers, and I just want the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. COBURN) to know that. That amendment that passed hurts his farmers at home and hurts the services that USDA provides them as far as the FSA offices and NRC offices.

7:00 PM EDT

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

Mr. COBURN. The gentleman makes some good points. However, Mr. Chairman, there is one underlying point that I disagree with, and the underlying assumption with his statement is that the Department of Agriculture is efficient now and that the money used, and just let me finish my point, the money that is going to be appropriated above last year to accomplish these things, that there is no way it could be found anywhere else.

That is my objection. It is not what the gentleman is doing or how he is doing it, it is where the money comes from.

The fact is, we do not have the courage to say the Department of Agriculture has to do this and we are going to write it into the bill and they will find the money there and they will have to make sure it gets done because we will have the oversight to make sure that the Department does do it.

My objection is that this is an inefficient organization. That is not a slam [Page: H3573]

on the employees, it is a slam on the organizational structure that we have piecemealed together through the last 40 years or so.