|10:44 AM EDT||
Maurice Hinchey, D-NY 26th
Mr. HINCHEY. Mr. Speaker, if the previous speaker has not heard any criticism of Freedom to Farm, he has not been listening. The criticism has been loud and clear from the moment that bill came to the floor. In fact, so much so that over the past several years people in the farm belt are calling it no longer Freedom to Farm but freedom to starve, but that is not the issue before us today.
The issue before us right now is the rule governing the agricultural appropriations bill. There are good things in that agricultural appropriations bill, and they were put in there by the Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies in this House and the other body.
I want to say that I have the greatest respect for the chairman of our Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies. I do not think there is a man in this body who is held in greater affection than is the gentleman from New Mexico (Mr. SKEEN), but the process was wrested from his hands just as it was wrested from the hands of all of the rest of us all who were members of that conference committee; and the result is disaster and this
rule continues that disaster because it does not give us the opportunity to offer to the full body here, all the Members of this House, the opportunity to vote up or down on critical issues.
Ought we not open some of these markets? The market in Cuba alone represents $800 million a year for agricultural producers in this country. We are providing $5.5 billion of subsidies, some of it going to people telling them not to grow anything, while we are depriving them of an $800 million-a-year market right offshore. That is true of other markets as well that are closed to us, open to our allies but closed to us only because we adhere to an archaic principle founded in the Cold War that
is no longer relevant to anyone anywhere on this planet, except for a narrow group of people in this country who are controlling this process. It is the height of absurdity.
Furthermore, we are deprived from having the opportunity to vote up or down on a dairy provision which will save dairy farms in New England, in New York, in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and the coastal Atlantic States. We are deprived of that because this is a bad rule. Vote ``no'' on this rule.