|10:46 AM EDT||
Dan Miller, R-FL 13th
Mr. MILLER of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Florida (Mr. DIAZ-BALART) for yielding me this additional time.
Mr. Speaker, since I am not going to be able to get time under the general debate on the conference report, I appreciate the opportunity to speak once again. I think the process, I have to agree with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, it is very limited and everybody gets what they want within that small group. I do not agree with my colleagues on everything because I think one of the good things in the bill is they did not put a dairy provision in there. That is the utter nonsense
of the whole agriculture program is dairy, and I am delighted that that was not included in that.
I am also glad that the chairman of the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies will be having hearings on Freedom to Farm and I will be able to bring up issues of sugar and peanuts and such.
One of the problems about this whole agricultural subsidy program is that only one-third of the farmers in this country get to benefit from this. I am not advocating that the other two-thirds get it. I think we should open up to the free market.
Let me give some numbers we have here. The third that get benefit out of this receive an average subsidy of $24,000 a crop year. Now they are going to get $35,000 a year in subsidies, $35,000 a year per farmer for just those one-third of the farmers.
Now, we had a debate under Labor-HHS and on the welfare issue that the average welfare family of three gets $12,000 a year, but we are going to give $35,000 a year to the farmer and the statistics will show only 57 percent of it goes to families of limited resource and small family farms; 43 percent of it goes to these big corporate farms, retirement farmers, residential life-style, the hobby farmer.
So it is not really helping the small farmer as much because we are just providing $8 billion. That is what is frustrating about this bill. I voted for it, I believe, when it came originally on the floor of the House, keeping the process moving forward; but we had $8 billion added without any hearing, without any participation, getting it in the middle of the night, and it is very frustrating.
So for fiscal conservatives, I urge their opposition to this particular appropriation bill. I do this, as I say, with great reluctance.