CONGRESSMAN BISHOP STATEMENT ON CONTINUING RESOLUTION
Dec 20, 2018
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02), Ranking Member of the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, delivered the following statement on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on the continuing resolution considered earlier this evening. Congressman Bishop opposed the legislation. The bill passed in a 217 to 185 vote by the full U.S. House of Representatives.
As a legislative body, one of Congress’s core responsibilities is to keep the government open and working for the people. Another core responsibility is to help communities struck by disaster to recover and rebuild.
The continuing resolution before us is not a sufficient response to these vital needs. It includes only token disaster relief for rural communities and farmers in Middle and Southwest Georgia that were devastated by Hurricane Michael and other disasters that occurred in 2018.
It does not include a number of provisions that were being negotiated:
It includes only $8 million for impacted rural communities, instead of $150 million;
It does not change the percentage recovery for crop losses from 85% for those with crop insurance to 90% and from 65% for those without crop insurance to 70%;
It includes less than half of the estimated need for the Emergency Forest Restoration Program ($200 million instead of $480 million)
It does not include the lower threshold for pecan tree mortality of 7.5% but leaves it at the current law level of 15%, making the Tree Assistance Program unusable;
It does not include the most recent estimate for Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Disaster Nutrition ($8.5 million instead of $9.3 million); and
Finally, it does not include any of the $600 million needed for Puerto Rico nutrition assistance.
Unfortunately, it does include significant funding for a misguided and wasteful wall on our southwestern border. This wall would do nothing to improve our nation’s security and is a serious misallocation of taxpayer dollars. It should have been stripped from this important funding legislation and considered separately. Congress has already provided almost $2 billion for border wall funding over two years, but the administration has only used 6% of these funds.
Furthermore, this legislation is dead on arrival in the Senate.
We must do better. We must meet the significant needs of my Georgia constituents and Americans across the country that are still rebuilding from Hurricane Michael and other recent disasters. And we must pass a government funding bill that would avoid the significant damage that would be caused by a government shutdown.
Governing by deadline is no way to govern. We must come together and finalize a long-term appropriations measure that provides certainty to Americans across the country.
As Chairman-Designee of the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture for the 116th Congress, I look forward to working with my colleagues to craft disaster assistance legislation that more adequately addresses the needs of our farmers, ranchers, foresters, agribusinesses, consumers, and rural communities.