|10:24 AM EDT||
L. Diaz-Balart, R-FL 21st
Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, I think that we have just seen in the last two distinguished speakers a beautiful example of democracy genuinely at work. The first speaker that we heard said that he was opposing this legislation because he feels that it is spending approximately $10 billion too much; a very distinguished Member of this House, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. MILLER).
We then heard another very distinguished Member of this House, the gentlewoman from Ohio (Ms. KAPTUR) explain in detail why she is opposing this legislation, one of the reasons being why, it is, in her estimate, not spending billions enough.
There is obviously a disagreement, but that is democracy. Some feel too much is being spent, others feel too little is being spent.
I think it is appropriate at this time, if I may, if I could take just a few minutes to explain what the bill is doing. It has been on line since we finished meeting in the Committee on Rules last night and has been available for reading.
Thirteen, almost 14, billion dollars, $13.988 billion, are in this conference committee report for agriculture; $8.7 billion to provide emergency aid to help farmers, including 1.2 billion for natural disasters; 5.5 billion for market loss payments, including 125 million for dairy producers; 650 million for crop insurance premium subsidy and for crop insurance associated costs.
With regard to supporting farmers in rural America, the Farm Service Agency, salaries and expenses are increased by $80 million over last year to continue the delivery of the farm ownership, farm operating, and disaster loan programs. Total funding is $796.8 million, which is the same as the President's request. Total loan authorization levels for agricultural credit programs are increased by $798.3 million over last year. Total loan authorization funding is $3.083 billion which is 74.6 million
above the President's request. Rural housing loan authorizations are increased by $337.7 million over last year, including 334.7 million for single family housing. Total loan authorization funding is $4.589 billion which is $14.3 million above the President's request. Rental assistance programs are restored to the fiscal 1999 level of 640 million, an increase of 200 million over the President's request. The rural electric and telephone loans are 1.05 billion above the fiscal year
1999 levels. Total loan authorization funding is $2.612 billion, which is 1.54 billion above the President's request. The Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program loan authorization is increased by $50 million over last year, bringing fiscal year 2000 loan level to $200 million, which is the same as the President's request. Agricultural research activities are increased by $76 million over last year. Total funding is 1.837 billion, which is 12 million over the President's request.
Conservation operations activities are increased by $20 million over last year, bringing them to 661 million, 19 million below the President's request. Protecting human health and safety, the Food Safety Inspection Services, increased by $32 million over fiscal year 1999 for a total of 649 million, approximately the same as the President's request. The Food and Drug Administration is funded at $1.186 billion, $83 million more than fiscal year 1999, $69 million below the President's request.
Fulfilling commitments to important food and nutrition programs, the child nutrition programs are funded at almost $10 billion, an increase of $377 million over fiscal 1999, 11 million below the President's request. The special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, WIC, is funded at $4.032 billion, an increase of $108 million, 73 million below the President's request. The Food Stamp Program is funded at $21.073 billion. The Food For Peace Program is funded at 976 million,
an increase of 38.7 million above the President's request, and yet a decrease of 105 million below the fiscal year 1999.
Title IX of the bill provides provisions regarding mandatory livestock price reporting which will provide information regarding the marketing of cattle, swine, lamb, and livestock prices that can be easily understood by packers and will encourage competition.
My colleagues saw I had not mentioned the issue of sanctions, and I feel very strongly about that issue. The authorizing committee feels very strongly. The chairman, the gentleman from New York (Mr. GILMAN), sent a letter saying that if there is one issue that should not be dealt with in the Committee on Appropriations as a rider but that should be dealt with by the authorizing committee, it is an issue as sensitive as authorizing and financing sales to terrorist states. Yet the issue
has been brought up. I just want to make one point with regard to Cuba, because the distinguished gentlewoman from Ohio (Ms. KAPTUR) mentioned it.
One word to those interests who feel that it is appropriate now to sell to and finance to the Cuban dictatorship: irrespective and over and above the ethical questions, which obviously are important, it is not good business practice to do business, to make sales and finance them, with the jailers of the Vaclav Havels and Lech Walesas of that imprisoned island. They will be the future leaders of Cuba that will be making the decisions that are of so much import, that are so important, to so many
If you do not want to base yourselves on ethics, base yourselves on the fact that the future leaders of democratic Cuba, many of them are in prison today, and it is not good business practice to be cozying up and financing sales with their jailers. I bring that point up because it was brought up previously; secondly, because the authorizing committee made its views known very clearly; and, thirdly, because the Committee on Appropriations as well voted earlier in the summer on that issue and rejected
it. So I wanted to bring that out on the RECORD.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the distinguished gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN).