Evans speaks in support of Farm Bill before House passage
Congressman Dwight Evans (D-PA-2nd) delivered the following remarks in the House of Representatives chamber today in support of the Farm Bill (H.R. 2), which the House then passed:
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
“I chose to be a member of the Agriculture Committee because this committee has jurisdiction over some of the most crucial issues facing our communities, and that is food and nutrition.
“Even back in Pennsylvania, one issue that has been central to my work is ensuring that people in every neighborhood in Philadelphia, between West, North, and South Philadelphia, had access to safe, healthy, and reasonably priced food.
“In Philadelphia, 20 percent of our population is food insecure, meaning one in five Philadelphians often don’t know where their next meal will come from.
“I am pleased to see that the bill maintains SNAP* and does not weigh down poor and hungry Pennsylvanians with onerous work requirements. But let me be clear that this is just the beginning.
“No child should have to go to bed hungry, and no parent should have to make the choice between putting food on the table or keeping the lights on.
“In times of peace and in times of war our soldiers must always have a food source in order to provide the necessary safety and security our democracies depend on for survival.
“This version of the Farm Bill is a step in the right direction by allowing millions of struggling families and individuals on SNAP to continue relying on the program to help them put food on the table while they continue to work, take care of families, and build towards a better future.
“As a member of the Agriculture Committee, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with members of the agriculture community at all levels – from farmer to consumer.
“I have come to better understand the needs of Pennsylvania’s hard-working farmers and others in the broad agriculture community through events like the Pennsylvania Farm Show, and Ag Progress Days at Penn State University and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – and over time through meetings with advocates and activists from the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, The Food Trust, National Young Farmers Coalition, Philabundance, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, and National Farmers Union.
“We are all partners in our quest to ensure that no American goes hungry and has access to safe, healthy, and reasonably priced food, and allowing our farmers to trade with other nations like Canada, Mexico, the E.U., Japan, China, and South Africa.
“I am happy to say that this bill does a lot to work for them.
“In addition to SNAP, this bill addresses hunger by increasing funding for TEFAP and FDPIR, and reauthorizes the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, HFFI, and CSFP. **
“The bill also provides greater flexibility in coverage and tools for Pennsylvania dairy farmers, invests in rural infrastructure, supports research at 1890 land-grant universities, and maintains fundamental conservation programs.
“Also, we must remember that food policy is foreign policy. Even now with dubious tariffs, large amounts of surplus agriculture are going to feed the hungry in foreign lands—food that was grown in America by our hard-working farmers in places like Southeastern Pennsylvania.
“Food unites us. Food is medicine. Food is sustenance.
“As I said before – this bill is a starting point. We still have work to do, and I look forward to working to build an even stronger and more robust food policy that strengthens the neighborhoods in our nation and around our globe.
“Thank you, and I yield back.”
* SNAP: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program
** TEFAP: The Emergency Food Assistance Program; FDPIR: Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations; HFFI: Healthy Food Financing Initiative, the national version of a Pennsylvania program Congressman Evans created as a state legislator; CSFP: Commodity Supplemental Food Program.
Media Contact: Ben Turner, Ben.Turner@mail.house.gov