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Congressman Tom Cole

Representing the 4th District of Oklahoma

Cole Supports Farm Bill Conference Report on House Floor

January 29, 2014
Speech

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) offered the following remarks on the House Floor in support of the Agricultural Act of 2014:

It is a privilege and pleasure for me to come down here on behalf of 14,000 farmers and ranchers in my district, 75,000 farmers and ranchers in the state of Oklahoma and goodness knows how many tens of thousands of people beyond that in various phases of agriculture and ag industry. I thank my good friend Chairman Lucas for what he’s accomplished.

I think it’s easy to be the critic, but I think all of us on this House Floor know how long and how arduous this struggle has been to bring all the competing interests together—to bring both sides of the aisle together, to bring both chambers together and to bring the Administration together in support of this legislation. And it’s easy to see why to support it if you actually step back and take a look at what it does.

First it does save $23 billion. And frankly, those cuts largely don’t come out of the safety net programs where there’s simply relatively modest but important reforms; they actually come out of the production end of this business. Changes need to be made there that ought to be recognized. Those are tough changes in and of themselves.

Second, it preserves the capability of this country to continue to produce more food and fiber than anybody else in the world. Not just for our people but for all over the world—and to deliver that at a cheaper price than anybody else in the world. It’s worth reflecting that Americans pay a lower percentage of their income for food than any other country in the world. And guess what? With the additional income, they’re able to do other things, invest in other things and go on.

Finally, I’m particularly pleased that the safety net has been preserved, that important programs are in place. But we ought to recognize that it wouldn’t have been possible without my friend Chairman Lucas – all he’s done to bring us together, how hard he’s worked.

This bill frankly deserves the support of every Democrat, every Republican on this floor. I urge my colleagues to be supportive when the time to vote comes.


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