tv Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Testifies on Rural Economy CSPAN March 1, 2019 2:30pm-6:31pm EST
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7:30 p.m. eastern on book tv. sunday at 2:00 p.m. on american history tv on c-span three. working with our cable affiliates as we explore the american story. >> up next, agriculture secretary, sonny perdue testifies about the state of the rule economy. committee members asked questions on the impact of tariffs, snap benefits, and the expansion of rural broadband access. from the house agriculture community this is about three hours 50 minutes. >> the meeting will come to order. we welcome all of the committee members come all the new members. this is the first official meeting more of the committee.
we appreciate you being here, we appreciate the secretary being willing to join us. we have plenty of ground to cover today there's all types of questions to answer. i look forward to hearing your in your take on the coming year. on the update on the overall health of the department. any other thoughts you'd like to share before we move on i like to talk about some money. your visit to the committee has come roughly at the same time the white house is called for billions of dollars of cuts and usda programs. so, this year appears no different. just this week, the white house called for a 5% cut to non-defense spending and while
this is concerning on its own, it is compounded by your comments that this number may potentially be as high as 10% or higher. so, that worries me a lot. given the broad range of challenges that we are confronting as farmers, ranchers, rural families, we are concerned about that. so, as you know, things have not gotten any better in the farm country. so, whatever you can tell us about where that process is that, i have no doubt that you are on our side. that you are concerned about our farmers and ranchers, you have a role to play, we understand that. i just want your take on things. as these incomes continue or prices continue to be down, the winds on the trade, which i hope you're going to happen have not
materialized. bankers are tell me they are not going to be financing some people. we are just concerned about where we are heading. whatever you can tell us in that regard will be helpful. when it comes to the farm bills, the main thing that i have been focusing on are the dairy provisions. i'm very proud of what we are able to do on the farm bill for dairy and think the former chairman for his help with that and the other committee members. what i am concerned about is the dairy people were so soured on the old program, that it's difficult to get them to look at the new program. we have a couple of dairy farmers and are part of the world going out of business every week, or every month. what i am worried about is, we get the message out to these people that this is a different world we are facing with the new provisions in the farm bill. i have had some people tell me the safety net we put in there
is actually too good. because you're going to have 950 above fee cost which is 1750 milk that you can get for a pretty reasonable price. so, i am doing what i can to get this message out. i have been talking to the co-ops, talking to the farm press to get the word out to dairy farmers. if you're thinking about pulling the plug, give us a couple of months till we can roll out this program before you make a decision. if you look at what is in the bill that will change your mind. i think it's the future for dairy is pretty good given this new safety net. so, whatever the department can do to help us with that message as i understand it, is going to be early summer before you get these regulations written. but, they will be retroactive to the first of the year.
we have information for any of you in the community, who shows what you would've gotten last year if this program would have been in effect in 2018. if you have 5 million pounds of milk and you signed up for the whole thing at 950. it would have cost you about five grand to get almost $100,000 for the benefit. i just hope that we can all talk to her dairy farmers and make sure that they factor that in before they go off and make a decision that's going to be irreversible. when we lose these dairy folks, it is hard to replace. it is hard to get the expertise and what it takes to learn how to be a dairy farmer back into place. the farm bill also provides resources to small communities for broadband. we hope that will be focused on
people who do not have broadband and not over building existing systems like we have done over the last number of years. there is help for mental health and substance abuse which is a problem in rural areas. as i said, doesn't help if we take an indiscriminate whack at this funding. i know you are on our side. we'll do whatever we can to help convince the administration this is not a good idea we will see where that goes. so, it is my hope that you have good news to share with us today. and that there is some blue sky amongst the clouds that i have mentioned. the thing is, you have always given it to a straight. i expect she will do that again today. you have always been a fierce defender of the programs at usda. we appreciate that. we look forward to your comments. with that, i recognize the distinguished ranking member, former chairman of the committee from texas. >> thank you mr. chairman.
i appreciate you convening this hearing on the state of the farm economy. mr. secretary, welcome back. thank you for being here as well. earlier during the budget letter are common and on the difficult conditions in farm and ranch country. i said i wish we could have strengthened it more in the farm bill but folks in the other body had different ideas about what to spend money on. in any event, worsening conditions warrants our close attention. there are things we could do right now, i believe you are at the tip of the spear on this front. you ably defended a critical access that we gained at nafta whether the agreement was approved upon. if we truly want to help our nations farmers and ranchers in the entire economy, moving they should be a priority for every member of congress. i know you're working hard to
make sure there is a successful resolution to the ongoing trade dispute with china. a resolution that will help level the playing field and required china to live by the same rules we do. i greatly appreciate the initiative you took to provide farmers and ranchers the market program to help them weather the unjustified retaliatory tariffs that have been imposed. i'm behind you and the administration and your efforts to unwind the regulatory burdens that have been heaped upon her farmers and ranchers, including the climate change rags. these are three ingredients to a healthy environment to rule america. you have worked hard to ensure all three. i'm looking forward to visiting with you further about how we can improve the lives of those who feed and clothe our nations and the lives of all americans. farmers are still the backbone of our country.
if we keep them strong will have a much stronger country. i know we share this conviction, i look forward to your testimony and i yield back. >> thank you. i just want to notify than members that you are going to be put in order by seniority. based on the fact that you are here when the gavel was struck and anybody who comes in later will be put down the list. you will keep your place, i know there's a bunch of committees going on. if you have to step out, as long as you get back here in time to keep your place, you will keep your place in line. we will try to work this in an orderly fashion and make sure everybody has a chance to weigh in. mr. secretary, thank you very much for being with us today, we appreciate it. we know you have a tough job. i was dealing with some of your
georgia constituents this last week, i know they are having a tough time. so we appreciate what you do, we want to be supportive and helpful. the floor is yours. >> a good partnership with this committee. as well as your members. i come willingly. i thought it was better than being subpoenaed. but nonetheless, you stated the obvious, the form farm economy, we know it's tough out there. you mentioned one sector, certainly that probably has been under more interest than most any and that's the dairy
industry. we'll talk about that, we know that the farm there's very few business that those from probably the peak in 2013. most commodity prices have fallen while global stock levels grow to other growing seasons. working capital, farmers like any other business, to fund their operations has decreased by 70% since 2012. farm deaths have been rising rapidly increasing by 30% since 2013. but, fortunately, we are not to the levels of the early 80s, i don't think we'll get there. what you all have done in this
farm bill in previous farm bills i think has been a great safety net with crop insurance primarily that enable our farmers to be better risk managers. certainly, one indication of that is relatively firm land values have kept the levels relatively low by historical standards and certainly low interest rates over the last couple of years have helped, as well. so, we are projecting usda and our economists are projecting a net farm in cobo so do several .6 billion, that's an increase from last year not including the -- facilitation program. as you know, it's never over until the crops are in the bins and the check is in the bank. so, many things can happen as we saw on 17 and 18 regarding
disasters. the current state of the rule economy as you indicated, leaves many producers vulnerable to market disruptions, including illegal retaliatory tariffs and disasters. overall, i think the farm bill fulfills the primary goal helping farmers, ranchers manage risk and continue to produce food, fiber, fuel, and good years as well is bad, as well as taking care of our consumers and food safety. we were honored to participate in the deliberation of the farm bill last year. i was very proud of our team in providing over 2000 items of technical assistance, both to a majority and minority in that area, both senate townhouse. we believe that you gave a good product at the end of the day. we are eager to implement that farm bill.
our deputy secretary is already leading those implementation efforts. even prior to the signing as we knew we had some heads up about the provisions there. we actually continue during the shutdown, although more limited basis during that time. we are following a process similar to the one that usda put into place to implement the 2014 farm bill. our farmville implementation group formally met on december 20. as the signing of the bill, the enactments and those requiring action, signed the responsible agencies and finalize timelines for implementation. we are also have already begun were getting stakeholder in part over how best to implement the provisions, just on tuesday, yesterday, our app packet production and conservation group held the public listening
session, i think over 600 people were there were many others joined by the internet. so, these formal and informal listening sessions will continue. although not under the direct jurisdiction of the committee, these are the top three issues that farmers continue to raise as i travel, certainly trade will have some discussion about that today, labor, legal workforce, labor is becoming more difficult to attract and most all areas of the country. i don't hear of many people who are flush with egg labor in that regard. regulation, we are continuing to work on regulations to keep it safe but make it productive. the fourth thing we hear more about now certainly in regions of the country from california to florida, the carolinas, and georgia are the disaster programs. in conclusion, over the past two years as i have traveled across
the country, i have been to 48 states since may of 2017. we will finish up the last two this year. to hear directly from the people we serve, it's important to get out among them and look them in the eye and hear directly from them. i am proud of the great strides the good men and women of usda are making. i found them to be an honorable, hard-working workforce when we got there. our goal in our mantra that drives us is to be the most effective, the most efficient, the most customer focused agency in the federal government. as we work to implement the 2018 farmville we want to keep in mind our motto that we think drives us in all that we do. that is to do right and feed everybody.
thank you for the opportunity to testify. i look forward to discussions with your members. >> thank you. we appreciate that. with that, i will recognize myself for a couple of questions. i had talked to you a month ago or so about the swine fever situation in china. my constituents are still very concerned about this, they are worried about grandmothers bringing needs in from china. has there been any significant upgrade for the airports, with the flights coming in from mainland china to make sure that we do not have this potential of swine few are coming? as far as i understand it it decimated the hog industry in china. if this gets in the united states it will put us out of business. are we on the ball, here? >> welcome i think we are. there is no doubt in these diseases and the mobility of society, today, there is no way
to guarantee that. i think our animal plant health and inspection services on the job at borders working hand in glove with our border patrol, using obviously dogs, rescued beagles, in order to sniff out incoming travelers from internationally, particularly those areas that we fear. but, the the past transmission of animal and plant is a real concern, always. we are ever vigilant about that. we feel that we have got to a good protocol in place. we are working both with our primary threats, although there is no evidence of african is swine fever in canada or mexico. you know that we both enjoy very long borders and porous borders with each. that is a concern. so, we work with those countries. we are going to ottawa at the
end of me to collaborate on our protocols, making sure that we are all aware and doing the same thing. awareness is the first key. inspection and checking his second. i think we are doing that. something like this there's just no way to guarantee. but, i believe we are doing everything possible to be as prevented as possible in this devastating disease. it is the mobility of our swine population of the united states as you know comorbidity of these pigs are born elsewhere and transferred to be fat out another parts of the country. there are a lot of pigs on the road at any given time, which makes it very difficult. on like may be a regionalization or concept in poultry where you can identify and encapsulate the mobility of our peak population. i believe were doing everything we can. >> i am glad to hear that.
whenever we can do to help, we are there. last weekend you are at pheasant fest in illinois, am i right? >> i was so, i guess you indicated that you're going to hope to reopen the summit by the end of the summer, is that just the continuous, or does that include a general sign-up? >> we will begin with the continuous. if i can refer to notes, i have some notes about when we can expect those deadlines for those to begin. the answer to the question is, you will know on these regulations on top of all the things we do are based on how we have wrapped ourselves in a lot of checks and balances in this world. it's very difficult and onerous many times to get through.
we expect all of the crp pieces on the general sign-up to be around december the first. it will probably be available sooner than that but continuous in that way. i know that is an interest of years. i think the things you have done with that contribution over the short term prospects make a real purpose of crp from producing on the healthy lands and keeping these fragile lands for passive with the wildlife growth and others will be helpful. >> we hope so. we'll have to see how this plays out. i have been concerned that all of the focus has been on continuous and there has been no focus on general sign-up which i think is a big mistake. especially for wildlife, big field, crp is what made wildlife come back. the reason we are losing it is
we are losing the big track crp come in my opinion. the last thing, your implementation of dairy, you're hoping to get that done by june is that correct? we just had that in front of me here. let me give you the dates on our dairy margin. we think that we will have sign-up beginning june 17 if that specific enough. we make these predictions, we are not total -- the interesting thing on the provision we had we think we can get that out in early april. the net refund begins there.
we think the calculator for farmers to calculate will be ready in april we think they can begin receiving the retroactive payments up till then? one of the challenges we've had on calculating it, and the effort in the last 14 farmville, in order to get people served quickly, they used paper recording on many of the components. it's not electronic, it's much more laborious. you can go back on the first two years and calculate who got payments, who didn't, and whether the farms have been converted. there's really a lot of manual administrative work that has to be done on those 21st two years. i think we could achieve even faster results if we did not have that provision. >> thank you.
i recognize the gentleman from texas. >> thank you. your predecessors have shied away from reorganizing the department. you seem to have taken it had not. you've taken a lot of heat for some of the decisions you've made, most seem rational to me. one was to create a business center about how far along are you with the process on our those improving program delivery? while many people misunderstood your motives initially, we began with the premise that if were going to be customer focus. we felt that mates morse sense to have an alignment at the fsa
offices and created accpac farm production with a single secretary it's an authentic farmer himself, week, i have been very pleased with the assimilation, after the early movie or cheese kind of problems i have been very pleased with the anecdotal results that we hear from internal and external customers. both the nrcs and fsa as well as our customers. one specific example during the shutdown there in the fsa offices company located in many places and were helping answer farmer questions, even though they could not do the work.
i think it's a joint effort. whether it be from farm plans conservation issues servers signing up for programs or loans for the fsa office. i think by all accounts, that combination has been a success. >> so, the backbone it infrastructure, the resources needed to combine those, those are the resources that make it happen? >> were making progress. it does not move as fast as many of us would like. we are making progress on that. our goal initially was to have one application. we have had different, between rma or the risk management or crop insurance we have different criteria in different blocks. nrcs has different blocks than fsa. what were trying to do from an it perspective is have commonality where people can
look from a crop insurance, and nrcs to an fsa application and have some common things filled out where farmers would not be asked one uses i think they're making progress on that. we think it will probably be early 2020. >> thank you. and the time remaining can you give us your thoughts where the winds are for production agriculture like any negotiated agreement, you don't get i think if you remember this process
there is a big sucking sound that said don't withdrawal. nafta has been relatively good and i would agree with that. president trump had just committed to a better deal. i think if one is honest and objective basically add every sector you'll find an agreement to intellectual property, to electronic trading, certainly to the rules of origin to bring more jobs to the u.s. for agriculture, it has improved. i think certainly there are people in some parts of the country and the southernmost part in florida, georgia, it was
getting vegetables they wanted. i can tell you the ambassador light heiser hung top and promulgated those until the very end. i had trading day that fell off. by a large, they are continuing to work on side agreements they can still have their day in court regarding the dumping duty. all in all, the agreement is improved this is in the best interest of the united states economy and vote for its ratification. . . .
>> from georgia. >> first, to thank you. i want to thank you for the great work and partnership that you provided in helping us get the $80 billion for the african-american, 1890s grant colleges and universities. $80 million in the farm bill. thank you so much. i can't tell you how appreciative we all are. while i'm here, please say hello to my good friend, your cousin, senator david who provided the during leadership in the senate. what an extraordinary bipartisan program we have started together. thank you for that. deeply appreciate it.
i am very disturbed, frustrated with the treatment or lack of treatment of our farmers with these national disasters. according to the university of georgia, georgia has suffered 2.8 billion dollars in losses on top of that, mr. secretary, we have got to do something. this is terrible. agriculture is the single most important industry we have. it is the very foundation of this country, still is. you recognize that. you travel to all 50 states and you know as i do that and 44 of those states, it is agriculture and aquaculture distances that
is the largest share of the state economy. it's the food we eat, the water we drink. the clothes we wear. who can be any more important to us than that? but right now, mr. secretary, we have got to sound the alarm bigger. if we don't get payments down to our georgia farms by april, we lose the planting season. that means two years that we lose the planting season coming from one natural disaster, hurricane michael. in the last three years, we've had three different back-to-back
in 2016, hurricane matthew. 2017 we had hurricane irma. 2018, we had hurricane michael and some of our georgia farmers haven't had a crop since 2015. if that ain't enough to get us moving here, i know you share the angst, the frustration that many of us do, we've been up here beating the drum, left and right. but this has to stop. we got farmers hanging on by their fingernails. suicide rate among farmers is alarming. dairy farmers particularly all over. so please, tell us, what is it you have to do from your standpoint to get the respect
and dignity that our farmers deserve and help them? >> i probably be better off just saying mn and stop. notice he you and your colleague on the same team, advocating for those disasters and you all live it, you know it. you've got constituents there. i thought congress did a wonderful job in the 2017 bill. administering the program there. you have no difference in, i think it's a sad state of affairs that we have not cared for the 2018 victims as we did earlier. i believe there is still time to do that. it april, we need sooner rather
than later but we can do it before april. i know the senate has dropped a bill that does take care of that. we were frankly disappointed because it had been most versions of the appropriations bill prior to the last time. hopefully we can see that restored. i think it's the right thing to do but frankly, it's the necessary to do. you said in your part, from your observation, i appreciate your passion about that. i certainly appreciate your passion about the scholarship money that was done. you killed the bear and i was there to watch the we appreciate your passion in that. i'm happy that we agreed early on, these are students we want to incorporate into the future of agriculture and usda and i think we are making good progress there. i've been to many of the schools and if they got great programs and your colleague and his alma
mater. they are doing good work. we look forward to utilizing the extra money. i got to see you are presuming together $40 million from the appropriateness. we'll see how that works out. nonetheless, want to echo your comments to your colleagues primarily. i know the message is to all of us. this disaster must be done, it must be done soon. or there will be real going on. >> absolutely, thank you. >> gentleman from georgia, mr. scott. >> guess what i want to talk about? [laughter] always good to see you. you mentioned the smc a, the seasonal issues with the dumpi dumping. obviously for the farmers i represent, that is the number
one concern. there are no provisions in the current draft that would keep mexico from dumping at that price. i look forward to having discussions about, i talked to secretary about it as well and i appreciate that. without having to be asked about. he recognized the concern for growers. the number one issue right now, i get more phone calls from bankers that i get from farmers. about disaster. i know that you were there with the president, october 15 i think. vice president pence, made a statement, you will be with you
until we succeed. i believe it was what he said, certainly there was a relief that came across. a new bill has been introduced, i saw him monday, senator perdue. they both indicated they are doing everything they can to senate as soon as possible. before i go further, want to think them for their work in helping us. it's a reasonable road to the losses. i'm at a loss for what to tell my people.
i pass these fields, i know these people. i've been telling him since october, help is coming. i don't know what to tell them anymore. if you like a broken promise back home to the people when we just keep coming. >> that's understandable. i believe based on this, this money was in the appropriation bill and was removed in the crisis of whatever, i don't know it does any good to even try to do the blame game from a diagnosis, i think we've got to go forward and i think use the
structure that before us right now to cure this as quickly as possible so we don't have to answer those russians very long. we got them and we are readable. we are producers, it was much their finance is asking that. they can pay out loans for people that had great crops. we know we have a great one in the farm bill but things like pecan trees and timber and those things, even losing the crop in cotton that was blown away in the safety net there doesn't replace the profit that was needed to repay loans and go forward again next year. i think we just need to go forward expeditiously, as quickly as this congress can move, to rectify what was i think a significant leap out of the previous appropriation there. i do believe the collie in the state, the appropriate or other chairman of the appropriations on a g, very interested on that.
produces in his district, we appreciate you and others blessing that. if you look back at how we extended the program 2017, i think we find we had it very judiciously. it's been very little complaints that i'm aware of since that time as well. we ask but i did that and i think made you all proud of putting the money out there and we put in the hands of the people who need it most. >> i think it's proof that the checks and balances were there. we provide the relief that is necessary but we are making the parts of the storm. i appreciate your support of the farmers. i know you feel the pain as i do. when you go home, just any help
with helping with getting this thing expedite would be appreciated. >> the good news i think is that having had experience last year, assigning that program, i think we are way ahead of the curve. i don't think it will take you as long to get the money in the hands of those who need it. i think we are going to have a similar type of program, trees and those things have not been a typical issue of the farm bill before or part of usda but we think we have a better citrus experience the master. we got a better idea on how to do that. >> thank you. i do everything i can. whatever good it will do, gentleman from california. >> ious pay attention to you.
this is an important hearing for agriculture. by our secretary of agriculture to discuss the status of the challenges, american agriculture are facing. they are many and we know they are suffering. not only across the country but in california as well. the new subcommittee chair of livestock and foreign trade in speaking with the chair of our committee, members of the subcommittee, we intend early on to hold a hearing as it relates to the challenges facing u.s. dairy industry and the changes in the program that you cited earlier in your comments. the timeline that you laid out, i think it will be probably good as it relates to better understanding on how we attempt to address the economic
challenges, it's affecting gary, not only in california around the country. so we look forward to coordinating with you on the timeline on that very important subcommittee hearing. probably in april, i would guess. let me also cite you, february 1, significant portion of the california allegations sent a letter about the impacts of the devastating forest fires that have been impacted not only california but the entire west. unitas state department of forrester has a responsive buddy for the jurisdiction of coordinating of individual states. the question we cited in the letter we sent you about a month ago, trying to determine the impact of the 35 days of the government shutdown, the closure as it relates to contracts,
noted for hiring training, firefighting present in other put on hold for 35 days. we have not yet received a response for secretary and certainly would like, i think i can speak for the delegation, like to find out where we are on that because obviously after the winter, we will have another fire chief we will have to contend with. so if you need an idea of when you can get answers, the questions we asked. >> i members we have not responded already. as you finish, i'll do my best. >> verbal answer. let me ask questions on trade. last week, canadian ambassador
david to the united states, white house economic advisor protected the administration could remove section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum in a matter of weeks. i'll need to tell you the retaliation of u.s. agriculture as a result of these tariffs have been in court difficult to our producers. processors exporting cheese to mexico, processor that you met when you came to california last year, 20% of the profit goes to mexico. we have products that climb in china and india, the list goes on. 44% telephone agriculture depends on foreign trade. the president admitted last week that a trust strategy to get the proof was used or increased on tariffs. canada and mexico. that's also impacted our european allies. he also friend to withdraw before they are brought to a vote. i think that strategy is a
mistake. i was in mexico for the inauguration. they said look, we are willing to risk this. we want you to pass u.s. mc and that's our only coverage. my question to you is, whether the pursuing new markets and trade deals which we need to do in japan and we need to resolve china, where are we with regards to u.s. and ca in the 232 tariffs? can you confirm that they have ended on the administration, i think misguided 232 tariffs in the next three weeks? >> i can confirm we've had discussions of contemporaries both in canada and secretary in mexico regarding the interest of all three countries to ratify and ca which we all believe would need to have a 232 tariffs resolved as well.
>> that's the only leverage. we want to pass but we need to get going. >> certainly, i think again the removal of the tariffs i think is in the interest of all and we are advocating to the administration to do that. certainly the present responsibility for the whole whole economy. again, the 232 investigation demonstrated a weakness in our seal, steel and aluminum sector. the potential for losing -- >> 80% sent then it. >> yes, sir. i think what we are moving toward is a resolution over the tariffs, possibly to be replaced by reasonable quarters with which canada and mexico can live and will have tears removed. >> we look forward to continuing to work with you. this is a critical issue
obviously for american agriculture. >> let me respond on the forest service, regarding your question. i think overall, the hiring program while we concerned about that, for the 2019 for service, under secretary chief tell me they have regained momentum that way. we don't think it will be permanent harm. i do want to mention, i failed to mention earlier regarding the provision in the appropriation bill that was passed, the backfill of the money we used to fight forest fires this past year was not refilled. that's been typically done over $720 million that we took from operations to help prevent forest fires in suppressing forest fires, but money we need to fill that back so we can
continue to do the things you've authorized us to do. >> duly noted. we will work with our friends in the committee. thank you. >> thank you. i appreciate you being here today. i think my colleagues are but i can't see through them. anyway,. >> at the red river valley up there. >> it's a second if you what i was talking about that. i want to take this form your taking. we worked on a bill last time around that removed the requirements and i know you are working on that, thank you for that. that will go a long way. i wanted to ask if there's specifically any other regulatory initiatives you are undertaking right now that might also provide some relief to farmers. >> i think working on, we have the issue that was very troubling. i think we had it done and the
good news is, farmers don't have to do that any longer. that was unnecessary provision. again, i think overall management being most effective and efficient was relations policy or just management tactics where ongoing, working on things that will make us better customer service of the people that depend on us to implement the farm bill in that way. many of the things that you talk about from revelatory standpoint, to do with implementation of the farm bill. we're trying to make it as user-friendly as possible. again, labor is a great issue there. we are working with the department of labor to eliminate the provisions of having to advertise several counties and regions to qualify to get h to a provisions. we are creating the usda, a turbotax model portal for the form that can come there, fill out the information, we send that to labor, hh -- dhs and
secretary of state, state department in order to as a primary statutory provision to help do that. we think that will be a big help. it still needs to be statutory changes made in the labor, that's one area we are trying to work on as well that will enable people to get the labor they need on the crops. >> to my colleagues of mca, give me your got assessment of what happened if we don't close the deal. >> i like to think about that. >> i don't either. >> i think it would be devastating to help everyone in all 434 colleagues understand the threat that would be to the u.s. economy, especially the agricultural economy if we don't ratify that. i hope that frankly, everyone here, i believe is well intended, will put the politics aside to vote for the benefit of
the country and ratify the mca. >> let me ask you, if you don't have enough time to answer this, just give me your assessment of a new deal. other assessments out there that will cost a ton of money that we don't have, certainly what we know is that farmers are active environmentalists as far as environment to act less. with regard to protecting the permit. give me a assessment. >> you are right, i don't have time to answer that. the signs are given, abysmal. i'm not sure what we can do. [laughter] >> i want you ask you -- i won't ask you anything else.
it's very satisfying to see the right person in the right job at the right time. you are certainly that person. thank you for all you do. >> lady from ohio. thank you. mr. secretary, under your leadership, usda has mounted a serious, have to baked proposal. reduce that we have come find you and correct. make of 2017, you eliminated a position of development. congress restored it. in the farm bill. august 2018, you proposed a relocation of those. as well as ers under the direction of chief. most recent appropriations bill, the language, delete this. we want to make sure you're doing this in a way that makes sense. we requested you provide cost
estimates and detail analysis to show the plant before it proceeds. this past december, the proposed rule in my understanding your getting ready to do more for eligibility. just the last year, during the farm bill, they were rejected. you call it a missed opportunity, we call it intentional rejection. is important to me to try to understand what they are doing for four people or people who have had fallen on hard times or people who are just living on the edge because what you are doing is hurting those people. further, you have tried to circumvent other rules and this one in particular bothers me. there was a woman, her name is naomi who's been nominated for the position of assistant
secretary for civil rights. this is a person who couldn't even get confirmed to be a commissioner. this is a person that the entire civil rights community has said is not good for civil rights. i'm not sure if you really are interested in civil rights or if you just want the present because you for some other reason. i am concerned that now you have made her to go around a process of confirmation. it is just difficult for me to figure out where you are going. if in fact you really do care about underserved communities, about people who have had problems with the department or those who have difficult finding a job, my first question, is with your new role, can you tell me a percentage our veterans? , was? mental or physical limitations, like to ask is publication transportation, that helps me
determine how many you are talking about. >> i have the statistics today but i can get them for you. i would respectfully disagree with many of your conclusions. you can begin with secretary rule development as you mentioned, we still don't have confirmed secretary and two other important issues along with naomi in civil rights. there are three of those. that we don't vote for, all three very qualified people. we want to get started very quickly on rural development. the farm bill before had created a trade. that's not been filled because there was not money appropriated for that. we move that to another secretary free trade because without trade was one of the most important ones to move to come from the senate committee. >> reclaiming my time. you thought that but the congress making the decisions
didn't think that. >> think that was on the view to do that. >> we put it on the farm bill so it couldn't have. >> i look forward to having it confirmed under secretary for development. i welcome that. that was no provision to do that part. we needed eight and it was seventh. >> that sounds like the department, sir. the congress determined who they wanted to see. >> i'm happy to have that, i appreciate that. we will comply with that. >> reclaiming nighttime. you turn around and try to do a rule that has been erect conflict to something we couldn't -- we put in the last year. >> it's a missed opportunity i want to, since you brought that up, i'd like to give you a couple of quotes from a former democrat credit president. president clinton said, i made my principal real well for
reformed, clear from the beginning. first, it should be about moving people from welfare to work. it should impose limits on welfare. it should with people all they need in order to go to work. this legislation makes them to get the chance. it's existed for millions and millions of our fellow citizens, exiling them from the world of work because structure, meaning and dignity. >> my time is up but let me suggest clayton was in office 20 plus years ago. second, the economy has changed and third, you can't even tell me who are the facts. >> i'd like a quote from another president. franklin roosevelt who said, lessons of history show conclusively that continued pendency on relief, induces a spiritual and moral disintegration that is fundamentally destructive from the fiber. >> thank you.
we are very grateful to have you here today. many of my friends back in tennessee they have been so pleased with what you have showed. making many trips there and they are very grateful for your services. we thank you for that. one concern we have in our district, i'm sure many others here, is the rural areas have continued to start struggle. could you talk about the changes made in the farm bill to improve broadband as well as the plane to improve the changes and bridge the divide? >> i appreciate this question. i think it has potential to be one of the most transformative
things we can do for all americans. bridge with connectivity and access. distance learning, world economics, entrepreneurship as well as precision agriculture. i think we need a shadow broadband connectivity all over the country, not just tennessee but every field around this nation. i think the sooner we get there, the better off the economy and country will be. we've taken the $600 million you up repeated flash and developed a very good program based on those unserved area. people are busy doing their applications, we give them information help to receive the applications very soon. to deploy these and demonstrate that the usda can get the job done regarding to rural broadband connectivity. >> what does really soon me? application should be accepted around make one. >> excellent.
as you are aware, crucial to farmers, there's been some concern in my district regarding the branch of the firm service agency. what are they doing to ensure they are ready to meet the needs of producers? >> labor and workforce is continue to be for four. we can't get things done without appropriate people to do that. we continue to work. we authorized a hiring plan and you probably are aware it's not the most easy place to get workers into. we are aggressively pursuing on a needs -based, every area we try to put cookie cutter approach not to work at the
workload and make sure they had the people to meet the needs. that's a continuing challenge. >> speaking of labor and workforce, that's one common i hear from constituents and employers time and time again. there info for this booming and robust economy guarding -- they are frustrated about the insufficiency and workforce. discuss the proposed rule that would adjust requirements for able bodied. >> we think again, the helping people, we believe the purpose of the welfare system should help people who have been independent rather than permanent dependency. we believe it does this. six and a half-million people unemployed and seven, over 7 million jobs out there. we think from the 20 hour week training or volunteer or working people have a job that they still qualify for snap, they will be eligible to get food
assistance in that way. we think we are helping people to move into the dignity of work and respect of providing for their families. >> it amazed me that was taken out of the farm bill across the country. over 80% of people agree with this concept. you can go ask your constituents, people believe that able-bodied people who can work, should work. do you have any idea why there might be much pushback and concerns on this measure? can you clarify to help alleviate that? >> i have no clue. >> meter, thank you for your time. >> thank you. i was here with the first time you testified back in may 2017. i care very much about the issue of food insecurity. i asked you a question, looking for reassurance that you are a defender of the program, snap,
that you're not advocating structural changes or putting more hurdles in place to make it more difficult for people to get food because there's a concern a lot of people miss country have so it be interesting hearing your views and what you plan for step. i thought your answer was brilliant. he began with what i agree with. you went on about how you support the program and you ended with, as far as i'm concerned, we have no proposed changes. you don't have to appear to fix things that are broken. when the motto is, do right and feed everyone, i view that as. inclusive. i was comforted by that. my colleague, i'm concerned about some of the actions by the department, especially in the aftermath of the farm bill which we rejected some of the issues that have been raised.
that's with regard to 80 able-bodied and dependence. by the way, the reason the gentleman, the concern many of us have is that this is a very complex population. this is just a bunch of people hanging around, doing nothing, trying to take advantage of government programs, this population includes returning veterans, where having a difficult time integrating into our society. in includes the young people who recently aged out of foster care. it includes people recovering from opiates. individuals who are subjected to math, preservation and also want to say to the gentleman who left, and secretary, you mentioned that we don't want to encourage life of dependency on these programs. that's not reality. the average person on snap is on
the beneficial list less than a year. that should be your own statistics in your department. so i'm concerned about the proposals you are putting forward. your language in the proposed rule, i think it continues to stigmatize people on snap. it blocks them from using their own discretion and work requirements. different states have different needs and as we all know, this is a greater crisis and world areas. able bodied independents are complex already voted demographic that will be mobilizing. you take their food away. my question is, was there any specific research to justify this? >> an honorable question. >> i still think we agree on many of those things.
i do believe that what i said earlier, regarding dependency is, i agree with president roosevelt, it leads to a decline in personal dignity. we are talking about able-bodied adults without dependence. i think what you all have done masterfully in criminal justice reform, destigmatize is that part of the population. we are talking about not just getting the job but getting prepared to go to work which i think enables that. i was a former governor, my job as governor was to draw down as much federal dollars as i could because i didn't have any skin in the game. that's what we see across the country with these waivers which we believe, i believe, i know they were abused in georgia, they are being abused in many places. >> i talked to a lot of governors who would take issue on that. as i said, a lot of people would be affected by this change our
veterans, children recently aged out of foster care, people recovering from opiates and individuals who are subjected to mass incarceration. i'm trying to understand the basis for the change. the usda had data on the demographics. >> we will be happy to provide that. >> i request that you share this data with the committee. i think would be helpful. again, other specific research? can you point a need to specific research that proves that taking someone's benefit away will help them get a job? >> we are simply trying to preserve the integrity of the law that was passed by republicans and democrats in 1996. it indicated there is a time. when a loss of a job or a health issue would give people an opportunity to have the benefits for 120 days. >> i understand that and because the population we are talking
about is complicated, there are hurdles for many of these people to get into it work training program or to get a job, returning veterans having a difficult time integrating back into the community for example, i'm just trying to understand the benefit of throwing these people off a food benefit. how helps them get a job. i don't understand. this is not a population contrary to what some have suggested we just lazy and don't want to work. this is a very complicated operation. i want to know what the research is and the data is that the department is using to basically justify the change. i would appreciate it if there is such data, there is a study, to share that with the committee. it's one of the problems when we talk about snap or this, we generalize in a category, it's a
much more located appellation. i'm worried if we go forward, a lot of people are going to be hurt. by the way, i think it goes against the farm bill. i was passed in a bipartisan way. i think we will do everything we can to protect the population and if that means going to court, we will go to court. >> i appreciate that. we are actively and aggressively addressing many of the needs of the veterans and incorporating them in the usda as well as agricultural government to help the people. got education programs pacific for them as well as other part of the population. >> we would appreciate any research you have or data to testify what you are doing. >> from missouri. >> thank you. thank you for all you are doing and i know you care about all americans, no matter their
income level. specifically regarding the conversation we just had, i wanted to clarify the change, don't kick people off, give them opportunity to give training and participate in a tiny program to help them into the 7.3 million jobs available right now. i keep their benefits. >> i did. >> wanted to move on to the program that was referenced earlier about relocating the two usd a research agencies, national institutes in agriculture and economic research service. want to let you know that those of us in missouri are excited about the opportunity. i thank you got letters from us. the individuals skills necessary, we would love to have those located there. could you give us an update on your rationale for why he wanted
to move this agency out of d.c., out of the way and move it closer to where the farmers are? >> you, along with 135 others would be happy. we are certainly doing a very thorough process, in fact, we engage in him was doing is to it. in order to make sure that we did not involve any kind of political pressure or biases in that in any way. evaluating these, there's interesting offers out there. certainly, from a management perspective, been cover as well as a business person, i think you go where you can track the best labor force and what we saw from testimony, i think a letter that he got, talked about the
difficulty of leaving in d.c. the cost of living, we can also it's costly to the federal government here. the lease was up and had the need to move locations. that's what began the possibility of both these agencies being located closer to the heartland of where their customers are. we plan on leaving the contingent of leadership in both the agencies. to be responsive to congress thing the other agencies here and relationships we need to develop from a professional perspective there. frankly, most of the records we have, thoroughly phd program, is difficult to upper young families and try to give them a definite quality of life here in the d.c. area. i understand it's a change, people don't like change.
there are adequate reasons we would be happy to outside these hearings today. i'd be happy to discuss if anyone has major questions about that. >> sounds good. he said friday about the commitment from the chinese to purchase. tons of soybeans, great news. can we look forward to purchase commitments on other quantities like ethanol and ddts as part of negotiation? >> i sure hope so. i give you an anecdote that happened in the meeting there. when he gave that commitment, he got take the farmers, we got 10 million more. i said yes. i kept sitting there, i did not leave and he said, you going to tell them? i said no, i hope there will be four. he looked at me and said, there will be more.
we are optimistic. we have to be cautious. the negotiations are never over until they are over. with the chinese and we've got a lot of details, a lot of hurdles to get there. there are structural reforms and nontariff measures that have to be agreed to in order to reach the kind of lofty purchase potential that other for the chinese. we are hopeful that will be determined later. i think we will continue to make progress but ultimately, i think president g and trump will have to decide it's time to restore relationships in a meaningful enforceable way that reforms the intellectual property that we felt were damaging our national economy initially. >> appreciate all your work and leadership. >> i'm pleased to recognize the lady from north carolina. >> thank you.
thank you for your testimony and welcome back. i was proud to work with a bipartisan group of colleagues to authorize at least three senates excellence. $5 million have been appropriate for the senators for 2019 corporation spell. many of us on the committee and in congress want to ensure that 1890s get the funding and support that is needed from usda. to do the kind of research that is necessary for them to do, i'm curious about your commitment to work with us to ensure that the farm bill authorized million included in 2020 budget. >> i don't know that i can
commit that but i can commit if it's there, as you all appropriate, we are going to obviously fulfill your vision for what we do with that. i want to mention one other thing, the better things you all did regarding 1890 in the farm bill was to stop the rescission of the money you're giving out. he treated differently than others. that will go a long way. >> , to thank you for that. that was an amendment i had and you supported that. you saw the inequity there. so that's what it was. i appreciate you and i like to have your support going forward. you can't tell the president what to do but i am hoping that your emphasizing that. i also want to ask about your decision to appoint naomi as a
deputy secretary. issues around her use on civil rights and so far has raised concern by the end of acp and other communities. i thank you may have responded to that but if you could tell me a bit more, i'd appreciate that. >> i was extremely impressed looking at her resume but more impressed when i met her personally. mr. on her passion and commitment to fulfilling the laws of the land regarding responsible usda to fill the civil rights components and all aspects. i was assured that she was prepared to do that and certainly, looking at her, she is professionally qualified having led efforts to the doc and others in that room. i found her to be qualified. i look forward to her confirmation. >> okay, i won't go any further with that but there are lots of concerns in the community about
not only things you said but the way she has conducted herself. our committee appreciates the work of the food and services, i just wanted to add my support for snap and my colleagues who have raised the issue, i think when we talk about able-bodied folk and people needing to work, many circumstances that create problems for them. we have a skilled gap, people have the skills to do. >> that has to be considered as well. also, in terms of children who will be impacted, if you take from the parents and those who are responsible for those children, the children suffer at home and school. i wanted to just raise that essay that child care and many other things come into play and
sometimes, if our bellies are not hungry, or have not suffered that pain, we don't understand the pain of a folk. i think about running out of time but i'll take any other questions you may have. thank you. >> we appreciate your appearance here today. also, for your diligence you dealt with in northern california in the prior season with california. we thought that was devastating and add the campfire. your diligence of your office and partners in interior and homeland security's, amazing and appreciated. as we know, 650 acres burned just in the first district of
california this year. 9357 lost in the two fires command. >> we need too dramatically change how we manage force in california in the western states and across the country. just in california, we have 130 million dead trees and counting across 9 million acres of the state of forced defense. we need to do treatment on that. it will help us to mitigate risk. we don't limit wildfire risk because lightning happens, people happen, too. they can certainly make situation much more manageable when a fire doesn't occur as we had many years ago when inventory of trees. acre was much lower in different. we've been putting fires out for 100 years and that material. you this to say, we got some really good provisions in the farm bill.
it passed the house on the four street title, a lot of that was eliminated on the senate side. i'm glad we got the farm built on. we got good pieces in there but some really important leads for all of us have been the other parts of the title. we did a lot of work, and previously the had four street, really falls short of what we need to do. it's very important to the assets that we are supposed to do. the force service, the forced asset, the habitat it means and the human lives affected. we got to have strong management here. the way we are going, under previous regimes with basically 1% of our u.s. service land
being touched a year will take 100 years. we'll have 100 years for the hundreds of thousands of acres burned. so we try to ensure forces have every two available on funding, separating disaster funding from your main course of funding. we need to be much more aggressive with this. can you update on me on how this is in place, greater speed than 1% of -- to cover california? to be a better habitat, more are safe, healthy and to boot the economy. >> i will do my best. we are making progress in both policy and authorities and
funding. as you know, it doesn't begin until this next year. that's why i felt compelled to mention the $720 billion that we have taken out of the operations to do what you're asking to do. in order to suppress fires coming up. we need that to refill so we can begin to do that. we have to prioritize so much what we are trying to do, prioritize the urban interfaces that are most frightening, certainly sought firsthand in your district in paradise. we need to focus first on those but also, we are so far behind the curve, we need the other categorical exclusions that you mention such as the dead trees, that they remove them on landscapes. rather than having to go on application after another. that just slows the process
down. >> we have good work on the policy adding local government and private lands. we need a lot stronger help from the private sector on this. let me ask you quickly, good work on getting rice into china but how is it going on japan with the discussions and getting rice. >> we don't know yet, obviously will focus on japan along with china over the understanding that the implementations are coming and our producers will be at an extreme disadvantage there. he understands how important japan is and has committed to me that he will move on that as quickly as possible. hopefully he will get an agreement that is tpp or better. very soon. >> thank you. the subcommittee chairman, stan
burger. >> thank you. good afternoon. thank you for being here. i'd like to start by inviting you to join me to visit my district sometime. we have bison farmers, small and large soybean firms, small family certified naturally grown firms and up to take you on a tour of quite a few of our firms when you have the time. my question is about rural broadband. there's been a number of questions already but the 2018 broadband deployment report, almost 30% of virginians living in rural areas don't have access to broadband and was considered a minimally acceptable speed. this creates significant challenges from the ability of businesses and farms to operate in the communities and kids to do their homework. we have students who set up a
donald's parking to they can get access to internet. it is drastically impacting their ability to compete with other students, have the same experiences as other students in the more populated suburban areas that have internet. the 192018 upper patients included $5,150,000,000,000 broadband voting program. utilities service also has other programs to support broadband which is a committee connect ground and medicine grants. he spoke briefly about the advent efforts but my question is, do you think the funding level is sufficient and the structure of the programs are appropriate to address the challenge of getting broadband to rural communities across the country? >> certainly not across the country, i think it's enough to indicate that we can deploy these in a competitive way working with second private sector partners. we challenge that money, there is great money, $200 million,
loan grant money of 200 million and 200 million of loans, money which has to be equities in there. it's only the tip of the iceberg in the beginning. you have a beautiful district and i would love to come visit and tour and visit with you and your farmers but the fact is, you are absolutely right. not only your district but many of the districts of your colleagues around here have situations that are exacerbating the rural urban divide and if we want people to live in beautiful places like your district, they are not going to do it without the services that are just important as electricity was in the 30s. that's what i would love for this community to do a champion. ...
>> what you expect the impact of the reconnect programs funded at the 2019 levels to be on the number of people who can access broadband? what percentage of the need to you think that program might be able to address? >> i'm not sure i want totell you these numbers. i don't have a specific number but this is very broad, not nearly enough . i don't have what quantification the tip of the iceberg is. this is just a test case to demonstrate what we are trying to develop our public-private partnerships. the federal government
doesn't have enough money to do all this itself either. we use the rea and we had other private businesses there. what we're going to try to learn is how to optimize and leverage federal intensive where there's not an economic reason to do this, yet people are in that business that know how to do it and do the most of it. i can't give you a specific number but it's only a beginning. >> thank you for your support of these initiatives overall and what your recognition of a significant issue this is to many communities. thank you mister chair, i yelled back i want to remind people we are recognizing people of seniority in order based on who will hear when the gavel fell. the next person to recognize is mister rouser mister secretary, great to see you. we appreciate the great work you're doing and i want to thank you again for coming to my district a few weeks ago and it's not the first time
you had been there. the unfortunate thing is my district has been so devastated by hurricane florence and before that hurricane matthew. we've had two major catastrophic floods. one a little broader in scope and literally in depth than the other. both of them were very significant. then those that weren't flooded had so much rain that basically they lost $1 million that was plowed into the ground so to speak with no return. that on top of the fact that the farm economy has been struggling the last probably five or sixyears for a variety of reasons . you've got the increase which it has a big impact on our folks and we talked about that already. igot some things i want to focus on at the moment . one is directly related to the flooding and that's the
role of an rcs that i want to commend you for the work you all have been doing, particularly in eastern north carolina but it's an area that needs a lot more focus. we have so many rivers, creeks, streams, swamps that are dunked up from years and years of sediment traveling east and southeast into the district. treat logs, youname it. beaver dams . it is a mess. and it's going to take along and sustained effort to clean out all these rivers, creeks, streams and tributaries where the water can move and keep so much of our farmland and a lot of residential property as well from being flooded and in north carolina we have the added impact, and this is both good and bad and that you have such a huge influx of population growth in the central and western part of the state. all that water has to go somewhere and you probably
have observed like i have that when they build homes these days, there a wingspan of parts, literally. maybe six feet. when you have a big rain shower and that water goes straight to the drain, straight to the river and it won't be too long where in northern east carolina where raleigh has 2 to 3 inch rain it's going to be the equivalent of a hurricane matthew florence flood in north carolina because the water has nowhere to go so with all that said and that backdrop , i want to make sure we are doing everything possible at usda and the other agencies to focus on that and i'd love to have your commitment and attention to it as we move forward. >> one of the benefits of visiting you in your districts is what i learned when we were your constituents a few weeks ago was that i found that i think some of our nrc people
misinterpreted their ability to get into some of these creeks and streams and do what needed to be done and we came back and rectified that by sending down clarity of what they're able to do so hopefully we will have some impact over doing some of the things, clearing out these results of the devastation from the hurricane. >> the second thing i'd like to raise, i'd like to get your update on where we are with the vaccine bank that was authorized and funded with the farm billand what you think the timeline for that is . >> we appreciate the attention congress gave to the diseases while we refer to this vaccine bank. it's actually a broader strategy than that. we call it the three legs of the stool. one is an awareness system working with state and the laboratory network and then a real vaccine bank so these transmissible diseases began with foot and mouth, swine fever has taken the attention most recently because of the news in china but they're all
devastating and both either those diseases and others could be crippling to our ad economy and the livestock economy in the united states and we can't be too vigilant about that. the money you've given under secretary greg has a great plan for working with private industry and producers in order to develop both a network of early laboratory detection as well as understanding the network of vigilance, of reporting out here and then the vaccine bank as well. so we're still looking and trying to determine what is the best expenditure of taxpayer money regardingthe technology of vaccines in that regard . >> thank you. >> gentleman from new york. >> thank you chairman. secretary perdue, thank you
for being here. i represent new york, upstate new york, new york 19 and it does come as a surprise to some folks i represent the third most rural district of any democrat in congress and the eight most rural district of any member in congress and i'm proud to do so. it is the home of numerous small family owned farms. thousands, and many of whom are small dairy operations and this past week i visited farmers at their operations across the district. among them was don kroeger, owner of don's dairy supply and duane martin, president of the delaware county farmer bureau and owner of a small dairy operation. these folks i visited with spoke about the challenges and opportunities of small family farm operations and i know the farm bill has done good work with the march plan being branded i believe and i
know there's a lot of good stuff in there that hopefully gets implemented but i want to focus a little bit on localized infrastructure because i think we have to think more broadly about how we allow these small local farmers to deal with the global market that sometimes ismarginalizing them and pushing them out . there are dairy operations in the 11 counties i represent and a number of dairy farmers that declined each of these over the last 13 years and some are talking about 400 down to hundred or from 100 down to 12 over the last 20 years. it's been devastating so my question is what can we do, aside from the insurance program, the dairy margin program from a localized infrastructure piece and resources piece to provide the sort of local usda personnel and technology and services in rural farm economies like the ones that i represent?
>> it's a challenge, obviously what you have done in the farm bill for your smaller dairies in upstate new york, it will be benefited by this both on the refund of previous insurance premiums under the prior program which they did not result in any benefit that they perceived as well as the upcoming one will help a lot. you've got technologies coming like robotics, robotic filters which will help but these are economy of scale issues that deal with all throughout the economy, not just in agriculture and the economy of scale of a dairy industry from a small dairy is going to be extremely difficult goingforward, even with a new farm bill . i don't think any of us would submit that we are compelled to keep anyone in business if it's not profitable or they cannot justify that. but it is challenging. i wish there were more that we could do and we're open to
any suggestions and using all the tools of usda to get that done but on a small scale, small economy of scale is like a lot of agriculture. when i grew up a man and wife could probably have three or 400 acres and the support i family of two, put the kids through college and do that. now even in nondairy it's up to 12 or 1500, 2000 acres in that regard so you see not only the number of dairies going out but the number of cows are not reducing that much. we've gotten more productive per account in many places in the economy of scale so these are challenges that are really intractable and we look for any ideas you may have and how we can help. >> i appreciate that, i did have another question on a separate matter but your answer makes me think otherwise. i would hope that given what
these communities have done for our country, the rural quality of life they provide for so many wonderful communities everywhere, that we don't allow the economies of scale as you put it to deter us from doing the necessary work, to think about how we can do better. by these communities. and not let the concentration, monopolization of the industry be guided by our government burn principles because of the end of the day these communities are beingleft behind and i think it's imperative that on some level , we don't just dismiss the problem as the effect of a growing economy but that we have a responsibility at some level, do the work and to figure out how we can help where appropriate, thank you.
>> we are willing to explore and implement anyideas you might have . >> thank you. >> the gentleman from nebraska. >> thank you mister chairman and thank you secretary for being here and sharing with us area i regret some of the comments made on what you're trying to do with the stamp program. i think they're being misconstrued. your goal isto set money aside to provide training , college training for those who are able-bodied, don't have small children and don't have a handicap and helping them get a high paying job, help them break the cycle of poverty. this is a war on poverty, not a war on the impoverished. thank you for your leadership and i think it'sneeded. i wanted to follow up on the hook and mouthpiece discussion . that's one of the highest priorities from pork producers so i appreciate the comments you made already. my question is what more can congress do to partner with you in the department of agriculture to make this the
future of this a success.we want to have this vaccine bank. when i talked to our cattlemen and our pork producers, foot and mouth outbreak disease which shutdown trade for five years or more and that would have a devastating impact on our core producers and ripple effect across the economy. what can we do to support you in this effort? >> i think the initial appropriation of the vaccine bank will be a beginning as it will help us to determine the right technology to use and the right product to use. i think there will probably be more appropriations needed to fund vaccine bank. i don't know that we're able to give you the right direction to do that but as soon as we have direction, we would recommend it will probably like most solutions require more money. i think just the awareness that the industry and congress has brought this
issue helps everyone be vigilant about it. awareness is the first step in any solution and i think you all by funding it and putting it in part of the farm bill have helped make the awareness for all producers across the united states. >> i intend to work closely with mister ibahn and your team. we want to be sure to give you the tools available to make this a success. the beef industry, we're the number one exporter in nebraska of beef for all 50 states and this is a critical program so i want to thank you. i wanted to ask about usda, it seems congress has votes that has no chance in the senate. if those are signed a law by the president but the usmc agreement, that we're ready to vote on, is there any other priority in congress before the department of agriculture that has a higher
priority right now than getting the usda passed from your perspective? >> maybe aside from the disaster bill we told you about. i think again this certainly is critical. as i fold you i don't think we want to contemplate the consequences of non-ratification and i know that we are hardened by the coalition that is already forming out there, very strong farm bureau, chamber of commerce. both business and major agriculture groups. there's a lot of momentum there right now so i hope we don't carry too long and that obviously, the tricking us of the 232's play into that to some degree but i'm hoping we can resolve that sooner or later . >> what i heard you say today and previously from other leadership within the administration that we didn't get every change we wanted in the us mca. over every change that was made, was to our advantage
and do i have that right? >> absolutely, i challenge anyone to go line by line and say where it's worse than it was. i don't think it was in some of our counties in nebraska, $50,000 is related to trade with new mexico. we've got to get it done. thank you for your answers and mister chairman, i yelled back. >> he reminds me of that on a regular basis. >> we will now give five minutes. >> thank you so much mrs. chairman. iq secretary perdue for testifying about the state of the rural economy in particular. i'm thrilled to serve on the ag committee and i'm from minnesota. our chairman mister peterson and about half of my district is rural in nature.
a pleasure to be here today. mister secretary, farmers through my district are struggling with record low farm incomes and low commodity prices. my farmers have made it clear that maintaining the second is critical operations of the work of this committee, the farm bill gives you access to risk-management tools. farmville provides business with an opportunity to update their payment yields for the crop year and think forward to your election between arc and plc. what assistance will your agency provide to make sure these opportunities are used to the fullest extent and what impact did the shutdown have on your ability to implement these changes? i'm a freshman, i'm new here.
we had 22 crs since 1996 and we shut the government down 10 times so any chance i get to put on record how bad government shutdowns are on everyone i'm going to take an opportunity to do it. >> i hope you will. you can't imagine how painful it is from an agency perspective. certainly you talk about 2 provisions regarding updating the crop yields. what we're doing is designing the granularity of the rules and regulations of how that will be done. you all give the intent and will congress and we put the rules and regulations in place. we are working feverishly to get that done as quickly as possible. it will not be done obviously by the planning season this year but the payment for those programs are done in a year in our ears so we will have it done by the time the next planning period for the 1920 crop is done that by that regard so they can update their yields at that point in time terrific, thank
you and how behind you become because of the shutdown? >> i've failed to answer that part of it. it was disconcerting but i tell you, you may have heard or seen from some other agencies or groups over threatening to be sick or be out or whatever. we had our fsi as workers, food safety inspection workers at every, didn't miss a beat. and while they were anxious like everyone else over not receiving a paycheck, they were stalwart in the way they did their job in that regard. we had and were able to negotiate with omb over getting critical people back in place. you may recall in your district we were able to get our fsa workers back for a couple days prior to the shutdown and then we were going for three days week after that. which is extremely helpful to take care of the business and
we as i mentioned earlier had an rcs personnel who were funded helping to end those offices in that way as well so i was very proud. these are people that are indicated as customers. when i talk about being customer focused, they just love to hear that because that's what they want to do so while we were behind on a few things like the implementation of the broadband thing that got delayed a little bit and other contracts that were not essential, for the most part only the bad memory remains. i think for the most part we caught up. it will delay some things, the applications i've said for the broadband and a couple other things but for a few days but we're not letting it hold us back. we put a rule out within the internal usda we're not going to use the shutdown as an excuse for any kind of delay of what we have to do.
>> thank you for that and one final to questions on trade. as many of my colleagues have continued to say, we rely on usda to be a voice for ag within the administration, especially during this self-inflicted in my view trade war. i worked in business for over 22 years so i'm new to government here but it's often the case that once you lose some of the countries from a trade perspective, it's awfully hard to get them back. so chinese importers of us brain, they may look elsewhere. i know we have soybean issues. you believe our farmers will be able to get back these markets once we lose them? >> i had that same theory initially that you referred to. i have since become much more optimistic about that primarily because of thechina discussions .
the kind of numbers that we see there. while you referred to it as self-inflicted, it certainly was initiated. i think again to allow china continue to build their economy on the backs of intellectual property theft and cyber transfer and different things like that it would have been long-term damaging to our economy . i applaud president trump for calling the question on that even though it induced short-term pain that some remain to this day, i think the market facilitation program ate up for a lot of that and i think you've heard on your rural constituents about that. and by and large, i think that we are going to be better off in the end. agriculture wise and us economy wise in order to get that done. good question is on much more optimistic about regaining those markets. i know there's a fear that you lose a market and it takes a long time to get it back area while other people do look other places for diversity of options they have, just as we look for
diversity of options in our personal shopping, i think the good news is the us steel still provides the most reliable, most abundant, secret, best quality food supply there is in the world. >> mister secretary, think of our farmers and i sure hope you're right. >> the gentle lady yields back, mister dunn, you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you secretary for being here today thank you or so much of your valuable time, especially thank you for visiting my district after hurricane michael struck shortly after it, you were there on the ground and i know you know the value of a loss due to that storm. and that it rises everything in 2017. you and i know that standing up rural community after hurricane is to ensure agricultural economy recovers quickly . unfortunately congress so far
has failed to pass a disaster supplemental program for anything like many issues in washington, it hung up on other unrelated political things , not questions of policy. my question first is how can we help you to be better equipped in the future to respond to natural disasters like this and i know that's a long, complicated question to you need directors and staff to respond to that, but let me say your staff has been a joy to work with after this. >> we appreciate it and we're proud of our staff and the response that they give to your members. we know that these are not things you think. they are constituent service issues and we want to be responsive to them. i think again, the farm bill does a great job. an ordinary type of risks that are involved in farming from a safety net perspective, no one can contemplate a major disasters as we've seen in 17 and 18 and therefore i think again from congress's ability to move very quickly from a
appropriation restoration theme, we will be prepared to move very quickly as i said this year, and learn what we learned last year , we are ahead of the game in order to be able to implement that and get those resources and pockets of your constituents that need it desperately. >> i look forward to working with your staff on developing more response methods 3087 percent of the ad losses in florida due to hurricane michael were timber. $1.3 billion worth of trees on the ground. i've spoken to constituents who lost their entire retirement savings were in the form of timber. with the destruction of this. what can we do to help these do you believe a block grant like what we did with citrus last year would be appropriate for timber. >> it's a great question. we actually will have to design a program for timber. it's not typically in the
disaster program because it typically hasn't suffered like hurricane michael. thus long, the timber loss between the panhandle of florida , all the way up 150 75 miles inland was in alabama and georgia was like nothing i've ever seen. that's not a typical crop that we think of what is an agricultural crop. it just has a longer growing cycle and i think we certainly as indicated , that was the many of these couples 401(k) that they were using to fund their retirement in that area. and it's, we will develop i think they appropriate, you mentioned the block grant more likely it will be some of that in there. >> i appreciate your help with that. we have a crisis in apalachicola forest, so many trees on the ground, they been on the ground for four months and are past the point of salvage.
we had some categorical exclusions in the house farm bill language which didn't make the final version that would have allowed you to much more rapidly salvage and remove that debris. i want you to know we will work together to get that language across the finish line this session. again, because we could have salvaged a lot more trees . with the devastation of our timber crop, many of my sawmills will not have any wood they need for decades after this. i'm going to ask you to work with our office where we can to ease the regulatory burdens and give sawmills access to the wood they need to continue their timber operations and that's just a yes. >> one of the best ways we can do that is making available timber sales in our national forest.
>> music to my ears, mister secretary. staff hasbeen great to work with and i want to echo the words of mister crawford. you are theright man in the right place at the right time. i yield .>> the gentleman yields back . >> thank you madam chair, mister secretary. my district is also in upstate new york and half the district is considered rural as you know, rural broadband is a big issue for us, in rural areas, 80 percent of americans who don't have access to high-speed internet live in rural areas. because of the shutdown i saw on the usda's reconnect website that many of your webinars and other programs informing people about this funding opportunity were postponed and in fact on the website no upcoming events or training programs are currently scheduled. my question is how does usda ensure folks are aware of this raw band funding opportunity ahead of the deadline? will you be rescheduling any
of the canceled events that were planned and you plan on hosting any events? we'd love to have you back in upstate new york. >> april 29 deadline has been delayed. that should be up on the website assuming people have access to broadband. certainly, you ought to be proud of your state. it's one of the more progressive from the state perspective over promulgating broadband across the state and we look for state partners like that to, that have the passion for that and many states and many governors who are in town this weekend, broadband is a huge issue for those but regarding the program over the reconnect, everything should be back up. >> the contractors were not being deemed essential and they had to suspend their work but they will be back at it now and i think all these programs should be certainly delayed not anymore than the 30 days.
>> also, you talk about our state. we had issues in our state in terms of oversight of some of the providers. you talked about working with our private sector partners to expand broadband into rural communities and i know that in some states like new york we had issues with cable providers who have said they were going to expand and have taken tax dollars that said they were going to expand into certainunderserved communities . and i'm trying to figure out what is usda's role in oversight of tax dollars that are going to private sector partners and they are not using that tax dollars wisely were not expanding into rural communities, what oversight does usda provide in ensuring those dollars are spent wisely? >> it's the exact concern i had going into this, that's why we taken probably a long time to develop the rules and
accountability provisions that way. i think ours will be more of a reimbursement type of issue. in that regard than money up front. and there are if you look at the accountability rules that are there on the website right now, i think you will find fairly good accountability. that never dismisses or excuses or eliminates some degree of fraud that may be out there. we got thomas demand and out there, we think we will be able to pick the best partners. >> i just encourage, if you're looking at this, make sure they're making commitments to expand into rural community that they actually follow through on their commitments to expand to x number of household they promised they were going to do. i also want to note, if we have any clawback provisions as well. >> putting on my other i also sit on the veterans affairs committee and i know there was a recent report from usda about veterans who reside in rural communities and rural
counties and nearmilitary bases . it notes the nurse as a whole participate in snap much lower than the general population, 40 percent of eligible seniors anticipate in snap. my question is what is usda doing proactively to ensure older veterans and all veterans who struggle with food insecurity participate in snap? >> what we're doing for our veterans and older veterans, we find that we are trying to encourage a program of mentorship. you've got aging farmers that also want to mentor young people who want to get in to the farm business. they may not have any heirs to carry on the farm business and many times they can grow their own buyer if they mentor them over a period of time and that's one of the things we're encouraging. other than the regular outreach between the administration, as you know
the states administer nutrition program and many of them have variousoutreach efforts . to my knowledge we don't have a specific outreach over the nutrition program targeting veterans or seniors. >> you all don't work with the department of defense on any of those programs? >> we have worked with defense ran early in jobs. >> thank you mister secretary, i yield back my time. >> gentleman yields back. mister johnson you recognized for five minutes. >> mister secretary, thanks for being here. i've got a passion for expanding opportunities for working-class folks and in the last farm bill, i think there were 10 state pilots set up regarding snap employment and training.i don't think a final report on those completed pilots is due until next year so i'm not looking for depth or detail
what do you have any initial observations about some of the state successes we saw in those pilots and if you have any initial reactions, share some of your thoughts about some of the processes we can make in the months to come. >> i don't unfortunately have any interim type of report on that. we like congress dealing deadlines of evaluation in that regard and frankly i have so much else to do, we don't have much of a chance to check on interim unrest over these type of things so regrettably, i don't have much information to share today. >>. >> we thought a fair amount about trade and i've been encouraged by a fair amount of progress as we talked about getting the us mca ratified. as it seems like we're making headway with china. we thought a fair amount about china, does usda and other agencies have the tools that you all need tocontinue to expand market access , particularly for american producers? >> we believe we do and we're
using it very well. as i answered the question earlier about our undersecretary for trade, the 14 farm bill and undersecretary of trade. it had not been filled until we got there. i chose ted mckinney from indiana, a former director of agriculture there. he's quite a salesman and he has well enjoyed his million mile status around the world. primarily focusing in on new markets and going to places that have a lot of potential like india, malaysia and indonesia, philippines and taiwan and other places around the world, the other thing that i think we've done , we can do it again. all that by herself takes the private sector and we want to help them. the market access program that you all front on an
ongoing basis also had a in the farm mitigation program, we dedicated $200 million of trade promotion dollars that we allocated out to over 57 collaborators in order to develop markets in different places or go back and repair markets that felt like may have been damaged by some of that so they been well received and were working with groups in order to reach other markets. >> that number of members ask about rural broadband and prior to joining congress is my career focusing on helping communities design,build and maintain great world networks . and in the appropriations package was passed i guess a few weeks ago now, i think there was $600 million additional funding for broadband and many observations from your perspective about what usda may do with those dollars,
differently than what has been done in the recent past with community connect or other programs? >> i think we will continue unless we have better ideas or new ideas regarding its additional money. michael initially was to do so well in the initial appropriation of the 18 omnibus of the $600 million to demonstrate that we would be great optimal stewards of that money in order to encourage you to do more. we will continue to prosecute that additional money in that regard and hopefully encourage the federal government as a whole to really take on broadband connectivity across the country, urban and rural as the real transformational opportunity that i believe it is. >> clearly again, there's been a fair amount of interest on both sides of the eye from veteran members.
if your department is able to identify any challenges for you getting done, the kind of progress you describe, let us know and if we can help, we want to. >> we will have more of those and the challenges and the impediments as we move forward in the application of the judging process of where we deploy those resources. >> excellent, thanks mister secretary and the madam chair, i yield back. >> based on your experience, we could use you as a consultant. >> you don't want me help digging the trench, some things i don't do as well. >> you are recognized, prime minister. >> thank you for yielding and thank you mister secretary are taking time to be with us and for being an ally you are farmers. to our national and world economy. i've been in office for just a couple weeks but i'm happy
to say our offices have already been able to work together and thank you for extending the deadline on the market solicitation program during the shutdown on our farmers in my area youneeded that extension. you helped us get done and i'm very grateful for it. >> as you know, emergency is a word that flying around a lot nowadays in washington . but i think there really is an emergency but emergency is in rural america. emergencies in the area like the central valley of my home where 50 percent of our residents are on medicaid, where a third of our jobs are connected to agriculture and a lot of those jobs areat risk . thanks to as you said in your testimony, the fact that farm income has dropped by 50 percent in 2013. due to commodity prices that are tanking, skyrocketing farm debt, fruits and treatments, major exports from my district having huge losses from trade, $3 billion in trade and when i look at this, i think the last time we had a decline of net farm income to this degree was
during the great depression. and during the great depression we had an enormous amount of public attention, huge efforts to fix this, real mobilization and public action and then i look at what we're seeing today which is in your testimony you said the ag department is going to cut the president fiscal 2020 request. it's actually about a five percent cut and i see that as sort of the opposite of what we need to be doing in a time like this. that really has this moment of crisis so my question for you is given your testimony and the scale of the issues that we are seeing in rural america, do you believe that we can be doing more to support our farmers today? >> we're happy to do anything you appropriate to do that and will do it as efficiently and effectively as possible. i guess i would slightly disagree. i think we saw areas in the
80s that worsens the depression that were difficult in that area. the other difference is down 50 percent we were coming off of career-high commodity and production areas and probably the 8 to 13 areas so we began a much better place and those comparative numbers, you can do anything with statistics but those numbers were career highs and we still on agriculture so there's no doubt there challenging. can we do more? i hope we will do more. and again, working together with what you all did in the farm bill and what you all will do in appropriations and we're going to optimize our efforts as much as possible. if you see holes or gaps we are missing we would welcome your comments . >> one of the things that is so important in our community and it stopped a lot about my numbers is what's going on with trade and tariffs, especially crops that are the
backbone of our economy and i've been talking to my friends and hearing about what's going on and impact of trade. especially given the short shelf life that a lot of our crops have and how time is of the essence in making business decisions. when you expect producers in a district like mine will feel meaningful market access due to the new promotion dollars for programs like msp, nad and fat. >> i say march 1. >> perfect. i'll take you at your word. >> i think markets are created slowly. i think again these new markets certainly. i think frankly it does depend on the success of the china negotiations primarily. you know the west coast if it's future exports to southeast asia and what we can do in vietnam and the philippines and thailand and those other countries out there are also important, that's where this market elicitation program. you know some of your producers that faded from our
procurement program where we took those props off the market to support the prices and gave that money, fed everyone, to food banks and others across the country. >> one last question. farmers in my community often feel ignored and i'd love you to see the impact of what's happening in our district firsthand. would you commit to visiting my district and see what's going on over the coming months and years? >> i don't have a record of how many times i've been already.>> i do, but not in the last two months. >> i promise youi'll be back, it's the cornucopia of the united states . >> thank you for coming, i yield back my time . >> mister bates, you are recognized. mister baird, you are recognized for five minutes . >>.
[inaudible] >> turn the button on, got it. i bring you greetings from myself and other hoosier farmers. we appreciate the work that you did and the other members of this committee in order to get a farm bill finished at the end of last year. that was important to adding some stability to the farm community, so we had some way to predict what might be happening. you did a great job there and we appreciate all that work. so we're looking forward to the opportunity to work with you to implement this farm bill and look forways that we might make improvements in the future . and so in the anna as you know because you've beenthere , there's almost hundred thousand hoosier jobs related to agriculture. about 84 percent of our land area is either farmed or is
in for us. and so we produce those amounts of corn, soybean, wheat, cattle and poultry are extremely important and then i don't want to forget the hardwood lumber industry as well. we talk about many of the issues and you've answered these questions on getting you a chance to take a breath while i make these comments but anyway , we thought about the rural broadband. we talked about the impacts of the tariffs on a lot of our soybean exporters as well , on and cattle so we talked about that. one area that we might not have mentioned and this doesn't necessarily come under your purview but the rural or renewable fuel standards, when we take corn around through an ethanol plant and we have several of those in my district, then we end up with the dvds and those are also a product that we can market overseas.
and it retains about 80 percent of the feed value of that corn. so i just wondered if you could give us an overview of your perspective on the ethanol industry and impact that has on agriculture community. >> this is a big last year and obviously 315 and i appreciate again the epa acting administrator wheeler and their progress over a 15 year round. unfortunately those rules probably will not be out for the driving season but they're committing to i think the term of art is discretionary enforcement about those folks that want to continue to sell in the summer when the rules established. as you well know, building that market in the process of creating ethanol, you get
byproduct of eegs which is a great feed ingredient area good news is congressman is that both of those, both ethanol and eegs are on the list we're discussing with china and they got a potential they need the ethanol and again, we would be looking for them to take eegs as well. we had been selling a good number, good amount of ddg's into china. we stopped when they started on the corn trade and hopefully we can get that restored as well which will be great for your foreign farmers and indiana and all across the way. >> thank you, the gentleman yields back. you are recognized for the next five minutes.
>> welcome, it's wonderful to see you here. on the slightly humorous side, i wanted to be on the ag committee and people were apprised because i'm from new jersey and they don't realize in new jersey we still have, it's a small state but we have a lot of agriculture. we have cranberries, blueberries, peaches, let us . i can name a lot more and interesting part is i have to research when the last time somebody from new jersey on the ag committee or the house of representatives, take a guess. >> i'm not sure there's been one. >> it before our time, 1949 and before that it was 88. so i'm going to try and do a good job but there has been too many of us, i'll see what i cando. a couple things i was thinking about , and first of all just to mention that it is important in new jersey. it's a third-biggest industry in the state of new jersey, the whole southern half and part of the northwest are
involved in agriculture. and it really does make a difference. that's what it is a garden state. any sense of feeling how in general nationally we're doing, locally we're doing, whatever with high-quality specialty crops? in other words, the organic market. that's what you see a lot of in new jersey as well and i was wondering if you have thoughts on that. >> we are making a lot of progress, obviously those are crops that have been somewhat ignored in years past but i think probably beginning around 2008 farm bill, again to acknowledge that and pay attention and i think we're making progress. i think this farm bill continues to make progress in that regard, encouraging alternative methods of drilling both inside and outside farm markets type of efforts from a marketing perspective. our nutrition programs encouraging fresh vegetables and going in both our food
banks as well as our school nutrition programs so i think we're making progress in that organic industry is probably more of a $50 billion industry now, almost a few years ago it was a strange to hear about that. so you see from the consumers making their choices in the grocery stores , their preferences in that regard. and i think the usda is supporting that as we go forward. new jersey, we were there and some beautiful farmland there. we were on a vegetable spinach harvesting farm there and watched the processing as well as the harvesting and it was first-class. >> good. and i know actually i went to rutgers university which was then called, i went to the college of agriculture and environmental science and now
it's the college of acting environmental and biological sciences but the land-grant programs, i know that you know about them and just have to research as well. could you just get a small overview of how that's going ? >> that's probably a good news story with the collaboration of usda and our agriculture research services. the collaboration between the scientists there and the scientists in our land-grant universities cornell and rutgers included across the country. i believe that is the reason we are definitive on exports today because we can produce more than we can consume. for the last 70 years we've had the basic research, the applied research and the delivery system of that information through the extension service, it all comes from land grants but we work hand in glove. we work through nippa to
accommodate extension as well as for each programs in that regard so it's been a great opportunity and we consider the land-grant universities greatpartners . >> it truly does help the farmers. farmers aren't always ones to say i need help or whatever but at times they do, like we all do and i know they reach out to them so weappreciate that . last question has to do with packing tomatoes which we grow a lot of and grow much more of in florida. i've met with tomato growers up and down the east coast overtime and they are still concerned a lot of tomatoes are coming in from other countries, particularly mexico and they're taking a and the reason i know about it is because some of the florida companies also have companies or subsidiaries in new jersey. any thoughts on that? >> you have some of your
companies began in florida and come all the way up the east coast because their buyers like the major retailers want a good supply all your long. as you know we grow in the grocery store and in december where it wouldn't be normal growing season, we expect nice fresh tomatoes there. that's whatour consumers have come to expect . while the seasonal and perishable fruit provision was not included into the us mca, ambassador like kaiser over at trade agreements and as you may know, the secretary of commerce, department of commerce has just suspended this tomato agreement there that we had with mexico in order to explore probably and in any legal fashion or allow the industry to explore, are there unfair subsidies being produced in florida? that would create an onslaught of product into the us that considers dumping in
our markets. so tomato growers particularly are concerned about that from florida all the way through the east coast. >> so you're well aware and we are working on it and working through it. >> are very aware, this falls in the purview of the department of commerce and ustr. >> but we're advocates. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, the gentleman yields that . you have five minutes. >>. mister secretary, i appreciate your testimony and all that you're doing in working together to sustain agriculture in our rural way of life. it's important and you're doing a terrific job, we appreciate it. one of the most important things that we can do is to farmers in business, especially when times are tough . and when generational farmers. as you know, they usually sell out the bigger operators and bigger operators, it
means fewer people working the land, holding the land, living in our small communities, going to our schools, and enormous pressure on rural america so the things we're trying to do here and we appreciate your efforts in implementing this on your farm bill to make sure we the farmers in business, the e 15 program, excellent. could we get your assurance will be working closely with our epa colleagues to maybe deal with that waiver issue that's been misused a little bit and undercut the ethanol industry? >> we advocated strongly about that and while no commitments, the interagency process we made our views very well-known and i feel like i've got a gentleman's understanding of that will be police in a much more progressive fashion than had been prior to that. >> and the issue, the area of trade, the progress made with mexico and canada, i
certainly support that and thank you for that. as far as the eu and south korea, that looks to be very promising. and then with china, everybody gets focused on tariffs and all of that and how we have impediments to trade but there are non- tariffs issues that china has used two keep our products out. it could be a gl issue with soybeans or some sort of growth hormone or that type of thing with our ports. and you address any of that and the ongoing negotiations in those areas? >> those have been the foundation of our request and discussions with china as we discussed, while they want to talk about exciting purchase numbers, we understand, we know that in order to get there, they're going to address these fundamental non- tariffs reforms such as a couple that you mentioned. the mrl's or the levels there . that occur naturally over
dopamine or hormones or other types of things as well as the other types of provisions over my own technical trade and our brains and our others so those are the issues that we've been discussing with them over what it will take to reach the levels that they committed. any good fancy numbers on a piece of paper if you don't have the commitment these are the things we will do in order to assure that we can get those numbers. >> the farmers in southern minnesota will almost say uniformly that you can do a lot of things to help us in the program areas but if you have bad governments, still going to run people out of business and one of the worst areas is this overreach and regulations. the onerous federal regulations that almost every sector of our economy, driving up costs, limiting business, making consumers
pay more. and it really affects farmers and agribusiness, transportation sector, energy sector, healthcare and medical care. you go right down the list. i know you work hard on things like water to the united states , you plan to do the right thing in these areas and do you support the records down the line would have that help the senate for major regulations to make sure people body here is that the executive branch is doing the right thing? >> i hope so. we would encourage you and your constituents to let us know of the impediments, when it gets to food safety there's a zero-tolerance kind of thing but other than things like that, there are things in make us more productive and less onerous from a federal perspective and i mean, you have people laugh when you say i'm from the federalgovernment, i'm here to help . they want you to help them by leaving but the fact is if there's specific regulations,
every group i talked to, we served a constituency that can, knows how to complain in a very professional way because they need to be specific about these regulations or impediments we can address them pacifically. we feel like we're identifying many and in the process, twice a year putting those on the agenda get those done. >>. >> .. i can tell you what you're doing in that area trying to change these regulations so can be undercut, promoting self sufficiency, getting away from dependency of government, able-bodied folks came back to the workforce is god's work. thank you for what you're doing, mr. secretary. i support you one 100%.
>> the gentleman yield back. >> thank you, madam chair woman. i may come back to the issue of what work requirements for food assistance at the end if i have a few minutes but i'm happy to see my colleagues are talking about trade tariffs and we spoke briefly this morning about this and i want to paint a picture of what is going on in washington state. we are the nation's top producers of apples, pears, cherries and many are grown right in my district. our growers produce top-quality fruits that are in high demand around the globe and in fact, our best cherries go to china. our north american neighbors are important reading partners for the fruit growers that i represent and mexico is the top export market for apples and pears while canada is number two export market for cherries and
pears and the number three for apples. unfortunately mexico has now imposed a 20% tariff on apples in response to the tariffs on aluminum and steel this has had a significant impact on our farmers and jeopardizing our farmers to the point that if we lose this market and others from the world they may never come back and recover that market share. i wanted to encourage speed in illuminating the section 232 tariffs. our growers are watching the us mca as it progresses and i was wondering given the urgency we are feeling in our district if you could give a timeframe for when we might see final text for this agreement and the accompanying us international trade commission impact assessment? >> there are certain timelines governed by your rules of congress over when these trade agreements have to be done and
i'm understanding that ambassador light hauser is following that specifically and i wish we could ratify the usa today and i think it will have an opportunity in april to do that and i hope we can also as you indicated resolve the issue of retaliatory chairs between all three countries. in and around that time or sooner. in order to get back to a trade for the people in mexico and canada can enjoy the great products from your district and we can once again restore the free trade that this agreement indicates. >> inc. you. i should note for the record that this involves mexico and canada but also of course, significant tariffs at 50% from china also retaliatory so trade deals are what we are looking for in our state.
since i have a moment left i thought i would comment about work requirements because i have a little different take one out of ex- families in my state rely on snap in addition, the people who do are able-bodied but live in rural environments or places where they simply cannot find employment and no effort in these restrictions to provide training or path to employment and so my fear is what will happen with these requirements that ultimately it will result in more hunger, not more jobs and ultimately penalize the people in our community who can least afford that. i will make a plug as a pediatrician and committee member and representing rural areas that are particularly affected to not have those requirements. >> i appreciate your concern. localized regions that are contrast or different from the
national unemployment by certain level and they would receive waivers. it is not let our limits of waivers but the fact that states have abused the waiver process and having statewide waivers over maybe one county or more that all in this category as a former governor our jobs were to draw down as much federal money as possible and i'm on the other side as a steward of the federal tax payer. >> i understand. i would note were talking about hunger and it's not an abused program. i would also mention it's not just in certain regions but certain demographics, minorities were disproportionally hit and we know it is harder for minorities to get work that there is discoloration in the workplace as well. that needs to be taken into account the people with exact equal resumes but from different backgrounds may have different
job opportunities. >> we love to have further discussion about that. >> thank you. >> thank you. the lady yields back to the mac thank you. madame chairwoman and thank you list her secretary emigrate to see you again. love the discussion on our snap program. the sheer facts are right now we have 21 million more people on snap benefits today than when the last time an appointment was the slope. this committee tried to fill the gaps in workforce investment programs through the last farm bill. we were not successful but of the forward to working with my colleagues throughout this committee to make sure we do something to address that the fact we have millions more families still on snap benefits while still not getting access to the training to get the jobs
available throughout the country and in all our districts. thank you very much for being here and thank you for coming to my districts last year talking with my farmers. i really want to ask you about hemp. we look forward to having the opportunity to have possibly a third rotational crop in the midwest and many of our local producers are interested in hemp. we see it as a valuable opportunity for not just the midwest before our economy and i want to know how the department is working to expeditiously implement the rules around the production, transportation and cell of hemp products and when can we expect to see a rule issued? >> obviously, we proceed very judiciously because of the uniqueness of the crop hemp and its relationship to other crops that we are not encouraging but nonetheless it is complex and we are working certainly to develop these roles and we are state are
able to continue under the 2014 rules that were already there until we can get that and we don't believe it will be till the 2020 planning season and we can have the definitive rules regarding hemp and going forward so there's a lot of interest nationwide and here and we would love to think that the potential for hemp agriculture is as great as the anticipation is but that remains to be seen. we want to proceed slowly to make sure we don't have another situation where productive farmers overcompensate and blow out a market and get started. >> you expect that to happen, mr. secretary? >> i think our farmers are productive. >> you know my district and i know you are correct.
our farmers are productive and in q4 that. any other ways you think we in this committee can work together to help this process? >> again, passing off ideas or impediments from your constituents are the best way and we rely on the back and if they don't they typically reach out to you before we hear from them but sometimes not necessarily we hear from them as well but if you have ideas or questions from your constituents about that pass them along and it could all help us be better. >> i appreciate that. one last question. a bill was recently introduced to cancel the electrician by epa of globe pure of fists and i understand your department does not prove these pesticide ministrations but you certainly understand the importance of this tool to the ad industry. i've heard from many producers regarding this issue and i want to give you an opportunity for the time i have to discuss the
importance. >> it would be devastating and so many crops for the crop protection chemical [inaudible] was not renewed and it would be damaging. we believe the science justifies its use and the labeling has been there so we would recommend and encourage epa to defend that and we are also recommending that the department of justice defend any threats against that as well. >> one last question. farm bill requires usda issue a final rule on strengthening organic enforcement by december 2019 and can you provide an update on how they plan to meet this deadline and is there anything about the timeframe you are concerned about. >> we have paid attention to that and that's accountability dateline and strengthening our
auditing and enforcement process and we are aware of the counterfeit knockoff of imports not truly organic and used and i think we are on it. the thing to do is in compliance with the farm bill can be met and will be met. >> thank you, mr. secretary. i yield back. >> thank you. the gentle lady from maine is not recognized. >> inc. you, mr. chair. thank you for being here with us today mr. purdue. pleasure to see you again. i want to add is my colleagues did, thank you for coming to visit the state of maine. you did a wonderful job talking to people about the opiate crisis in broadband and value added producer grants and organic vegetables and covered the gamut of people appreciated it deeply. link you but i also want to thank you for the roundtable you created on food waste. might partisan work even doing
and that is helpful recognizing the importance of dealing with food waste in our country, 30% of the food as we know is wasted and a huge resource that farmers produce and water loss that we want to make sure those two hungry people in the right peoples. i have a couple of questions and never enough time. i want to comment briefly. climate change i want to make sure as a committee we don't toss this off as a joke and i know there's been joking around about stop eating hamburgers or they will have to take pepto-bismol and it made me think of the fact that a few details on the farm and it's hard to get those guys into the trailer but if i had to give them a dose of pepto-bismol every morning for my farmers that would not work out. i have been recently to uc davis where they did interesting work on seaweed additives in the diet which reduces the amount of methanol and we think that is
great because we produce seaweed in maine so could be a good partnership. i think there are positive things we can be doing around recognizing the role the farmers plate and climate change, carbon in the soil and conservation practices encourage that, pasture farming is going to do that. we need to look at this in a positive perspective and think how farmers can be a great part of the solution and support them in the. our -- at some point we need to have a serious conversation about that as we have one on food waste smack i hope my attempt at humor did not -- i do not consider it serious i believe that our farmers are very much mindful of that effort and taking steps to other crops and that's more input and outp output. >> i believe you do. i understand the humor and i totally appreciate it. but i do need to talk to you briefly about some of what is
come up a little bit and i'm one of the people who supports the reorganization the two usda cultural resource agencies in ers and my concern comes from the realm of this and i know there are members it would be great to have it in her home state of missouri and i'm sure people would like to have it moved to their home state. missouri is no closer to maine than washington dc so we don't see that as an advantageous move and while i don't disagree with the idea that reorganization is good and not everything has to be in washington there could be negative effects. the reorganization of ers jeopardizes the scientific integrity by injecting politics into the work and there have been concerns such as the 2019 budget proposed to cut ers by 40%. a long-term and highly qualified and minister of ers in the same date was moved as you announce
that proposal someone is acting administrator so you know there's been mistrust and concern about this and i would like to hear your thoughts on this and i hope you continue in the dialogue of many members of congress who do not support this potential reorganization. >> we want to hope we have a dialogue and i know is beyond the scope of the hearing today but i'll give you my initial reasons and would invite you to come and let's have a lengthy discussion about this and further give you my reasons for this. you mentioned one scientific integrity on ers and alignment under the office of chief economist and here is the way i view it. the office of chief economist you may know or not know is a career person and the alignment of the chief economist as a
scientific economist and agriculture we feel like is a better alignment of the economic the church service and you have the administrative ers career person reporting to a career person which we think is worth division reporting to a political undersecretary in art ee, i know there's been rumors about scientific integrity and i've been confused about it which means we have a lot of discussions. i want you to note that i look forward to hearing and hopefully persuading you all of our reasons and benefit we see in doing that. i'm serious about that. hopefully you will take me up on that and let's have a further discussion. >> i'm out of time but i absolutely will take that out. i will take that upon taking talking more in depth about the role of the usda in helping us work on the climate change.
thank you for being here today. >> thank you. gentleman from pennsylvania. >> chairman, thank you so much. but to see you, mr. secretary. please extend my appreciation to your staff as well. they are on the job and doing a great job. not just for rural americans as we know but without a robust rural america as i has a before every american would wake up cold, dark and hungry. everyone can benefit from what we do and what you do. i want to start out with touch base with the number one commodity or number one industry in spain, number one industry is agriculture and dairy. you know the struggles there but we had lengthy conversations on that and those fiscal demise of our dairy farms attract heavily starting in about 2010. when we lost an entire generation of -- it was not this committee but education and labor that starved our kids for
nutrition when it came to milk. the demonized look fat in the science was bad then and we know that now the science is clear today and talking with a friend of mine between the medical society and she was sharing with me the studies of what it is today and so i want to thank you also for implementing the 1% milk fat and flavor option back to our schools. i think that better serves the needs of our kids from a nutrition perspective and white frankly as a result we are seeing the demand for milk marginally increase in the future look marginally good, more than we need to do. i know not ask your opinion on specific pieces of legislation but i did want to check with you on the issue where i have
introduced along with support of these two gentlemen to be right here as original cosponsors, whole milk for healthy kids, i know you have jurisdiction over school mills in terms of nutrition and any thoughts on that initiative and i will not ask your opinion on the specific bill but on restoring an option among other options for whole milk in our schools. >> thank you, sir. you probably are aware i answer for my personal conversations that we would be supportive of that. again, we will be we just announced dietary guidelines panel which i think is very balanced and many of these things come from. you talk about the demonizing or disparaging milk or whole milk and now it is back. we went to that with eggs over cholesterol and now they are okay.
we need to have the latest scientific research guide us in these areas and for the most part i don't see honestly i don't believe childhood obesity is caused by drinking too much milk now. is caused by a lot of things and includes sugars but not whole milk. and so, i would welcome guidance in that from congress and we would certainly be delighted to implement those rules. you are probably aware of the allegations in the concern when we did that that we are trying to roll back different things. if you look at what we did we do not rollback a lot but kept and said let's see what's working and what is not and proceed closely. nutrition is important and impeding 30 something million schoolkids is very important and we want to do the best we can. >> i thank you for your work in that area. i don't know and i apologize but it had to come in out of the hearing but new farm bill does
kyle date or correctly the price for high quality alfalfa hay is purchased by dairy farmers in the top five milk states. to help the program reflect the dairy farmer accurately they began incorporate in this price point into the dnc formula was becomes available. has usda directed to begin collecting the data yet? >> not yet. that will be part of our implications of the farm bull rules we are working on and i say from my direction not yet because i'm not aware we have but much good work goes on in the department that i am unaware of and they might already begun but i'm not aware. >> one the most important things about climate change and this committee takes the leading role in that. we have jurisdiction over forests and a good healthy forest is the world's best carbon so we've done great work in the past two farm bills to
make sure we have healthy forests. always looking to make the national for service as it comes to our national forest has tools to be able to do that and manage the force in a healthy way and make sure we have generations as we do timber and harvesting and certainly with the sustainable growth rate. do you think the agency needs more proactive management over art national forest? >> absolutely. i want to comment right away. agriculture does not get the credit it does for carbon capture many times both in our forest and in all crops over carbon capture in that way. i think agriculture and the growth of plans are very important from a carbon perspective. i don't usually see it included in our calculations of carbon footprint. >> officially, ron record that
they are carbon neutral and that is not quite accurate but carbon negative. thank you, chairman. >> thank you, gentlemen. gentleman from california. >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome, secretary purdue. i look forward to you visiting my district as our chairman recited a few months back. hopefully we can arrange something like that in the future. california in the western part of the states face unique challenges to their farming, on the central coast it's home to diverse agriculture to wine grapes to avocado and another specialty crop.
departments of medicine have reported millions of dollars of crops due to labor shortages and it is clear the shortage of inadequate labor force is one of the greatest challenges facing us agriculture today. our broken immigration system is at the heart of this issue and i believe we must finally take action to legalize our existing ag workforce while implementing a viable program to provide a future flow of labor. in your testimony you emphasize the need for farmers to have access to long-term solutions on the stable workforce. what are you doing a secretary to address the challenges our farmers are facing in securing a reliable workforce due to our broken immigration system? >> we don't have priority in those areas but one of the things we are doing this being an advocate for everyone who will listen regarding those areas that do have authority.
we are working for the department of labor and department of homeland security and state, certainly for our guest work program to make it more viable. also encouraging you all in congress and administration to look at a comprehensive immigration bill, first time or less time we tried to do that i think was president bush was here and we got close but it did not happen i think again we looked at the various components regarding border security or asylum or chain migration and i think we need to there is enough equity for everyone in there and certainly our interest is in the ag labor and we have encouraged the white house as well as others to look at our immigration policy comprehensively that make sure we have enough workers in this country not just in agriculture but other places when you have on the fill jobs that need workers, certainly sometimes low
skilled and merit-based high school workers. we think it's in the best interest of the united states to have a comprehensive legal immigration system going forwa forward. >> thank you. i think that was in 2013 with united states that it came up with a compromise at the house was not able to move forward. not sure if that was under bush or obama but it is escaping me. >> us and i recall was bush proposal but you may be right. >> thank you, mr. secretary. it's also clear the mechanization continues to grow and in your test many humans in the farm bill significant investment in usda research and can you tell me how the usda plans to ensure the prioritization of research into mechanization for labor commodities, implementation of the 2018 farm bill. >> that is part of the research
overall that we do as you asking me to ensure the usda does that and i think some would be concerned that secretary of agriculture was direct in the integrity of scientific pursuit so we fun people out here in the various land-grant as research service to determine the best product methods going forward. >> thank you very much. i will yield my time back. >> gentleman from florida. >> to you, mr. chairman. great to see you again, secretary purdue. i think what you've done unless that program is monumental and i think it is the right thing to do. as you quoted president roosevelt and we saw what president clinton did and other presidents that is the right thing to do and we will support you anything we can. but the technologies that we have to date and i brought to
the usda attention and i thank you are privy to these meetings we brought people in from that county sheriff's office for jacksonville, florida is on the prod been in fermented in ebt programs by the vendors and have you move forward on that to make sure that has gone away and we had someone in a meeting they said there was a minimum of $1 million in fraud in the ebt bending the way it is done and possibly up to four, $7 billion? >> is a constant pursuit, congressman. one of those areas is trying to get the interest and if you know when we go against a retailer who we have reason to believe is defrauding the taxpayer in the ebt program and the princeton program they get stayed through those consequences if they file
a four-year request and it's those legal determines that those are industry attorneys who take a vantage of those rules and it's those things were trying to minimize. we believe the data collection system that we are going for that multistate data will help us to determine if people are double dipping in other places but the retailer fraud continues to just be very frustrating. >> when we bring that person back up here again there needs to be a full committee hearing with both sides see this. it's not a republican or democrat issue but something breaking the integrity of the snap program as it was designed. we will let you know on that.
bonnie davis brought up about the [inaudible] along with that same bill i heard another one would come up to band them for use. how detrimental is that for agriculture? >> i think it would be consequential from act production and i hope that the culture of the united states does not pursue the european model for the technology freezone, i call it, in the eu. this is been -- if you look at the preponderance -- we like to call ourselves signed science -based but if we look at the sound of science on this issue it is overwhelming, overwhelming regarding the safety and hopefully we will not take the tack and i'm concerned about the
fear of our food in the fearmonger out there to talk about the lack of the safety we have in our food supply system. >> like the argument over the gm owes me of 100 nobel where it scientist who said there no human rest of that and it's a science -based versus what is on the internet. going down that with the technology as it pertains to the 19 technology the fda is going to be the one making the rules on this and we want to make sure people are moving forward as you are well aware -- they can use crisper night technology and they can remove the testicle genes in pigs and farm them out without testicles because the eu doesn't want animals domestic animals castrated. what do we need to do on this body to help that rulemaking process and i know that is the fda and you have any recommendations so we can move forward with the research with
the land grants? >> you left out the deep warning that is already there, as well. i would hope this committee would take that and move with it. >> it has a jurisdictional issue and working with our colleagues and other committees to be for the record, crisper night technology is not transgender and not taking genes from some other organization plant or animal and placing it in an animal for this fear of frankenstein type animal. this is a gene that has been proven in many species that can be effective and i would hope if we don't do this we will see the united states lose its lead in agriculture and then, god help us. >> you are so right. i yield back.
>> thank you, gentlemen. gentle lady from iowa. >> thank you, mr. chairman. like you, secretary purdue for being here. great to see you here again today. want to thank you for all your doing for our agriculture community. iowa is a key player not just in food and also in fuel and feed for our cattle and fish and everything. we are big players so i perceive that. thank you for getting our fsa offices open during the settlement that was instrumental in helping our farmers. i appreciate that. as you are probably aware iowa state university which is one of our nation's top agricultural research institutions recently released a report showing i was entire economy has been negatively affected by the trade tariffs. overall as you mentioned us net farming income has fallen by almost 50% down to $65.7 billion this year down from five years
ago. how close do you think the president and china are to reaching a trade deal? i know you mentioned earlier negotiations are, i believe, done when they are done but i have to go back to my constituents with a better answer than that. what can i tell them? >> you can tell them you believe there is substantive, meaningful trade negotiations taking place by both sides. i think i sense that. you know i'm not at the table. i am at the secretary trade and he's been in the agricultural sectors, ambassador lighthizer and secretary nguyen are leading these principles but based on my observations in the oval office there is a sense here desire on both sides to resolve the trade dispute as has been from the beginning and the ball is in the
chinese court and we will not have an agreement without fundamental understanding that the intellectual property transfer, illegal transfer bus stop. and the enforceability provisions about that. at is the future of the united states economy. i believe we are making progress on the fundamental structure of forms but it is, i don't want to raise expectations either. for you to go back and say produce that we will have it by this time. i would love to be able to do that if it was in my ability i would give you the date and hour but they don't give me that authority. >> would it be safe to say that within this quarter or within a few months. >> i think we will know something as you know the latest delay of these additional tariffs as the president announced this past week over a delay in that. i think i believe he and the president of china, president
xi, will meet face-to-face again before the end of march and if we will have a deal, i think we will have a deal pretty much there. it is that point in time. that means when you make a deal at the principal level there are details to work out. that is what they are trying to do ahead of time now. it's going line by line and the non- trade barriers to purchase our ag products. >> speaking of those details, i'm next question would be what do you recommend to the president is a minimum amount of soybean sales we respect to see a deal? specifically wondering what is that for you are looking at, 50 million metric tons, what can we plan on? >> in the spirit of negotiations not sure it's appropriate to answer the question in public here today. we got a list not only of soybeans but be grains and couple of products you are
interested in, ethanol and -, cn and sorghum and beef and poultry in a variety of things. we are not going to enumerate different levels again. negotiations are negotiations. what is the capacity. we have put proposals on the table and china has come back with that and it's not appropriate to do specific digits negotiations in public. >> thirty seconds left, plug and therefore e13. i appreciate what you're doing and want to echo my peers here across the aisle as well. i want to say iowa really relies on ethanol industry, 2.1 milliod corn into that and we know that weavers went to extremely profitable refiners while our
hard-working iowa farmers did not get that opportunity. what can we expect in the future to help with that? >> again, you understand the levers are controlled by the environment of protection agency and have advocated long and hard over the rulemaking about that and we have objected interagency transfer and relationships have cleared so we are putting amounts in there for waivers and the perspective portion and i believe administrator that you will see a different type of enforcement going forward and i trust him in that regard. i think he's been supportive and also was made an attempt in the shutdown not occurred we would have seen the e15 rules before driving season and now it will not happen but we are encouraging them to announce the discretionary enforcement of that. >> you for your continued so please help us continue that
money back into our hard-working farmers across the country and not just to support profitable companies. >> gentleman from georgia. >> thank you, mr. chairman. you been here an awful long time so i want to just make very quick remarks. i do have the benefit of those here, two years ago you were sitting there talking about farming income and commodity prices and how farming income has dropped roughly 50% which has been a tremendous impact on our industry. of course, the only solution we could offer up and talk about at the time was we had to renegotiate these trade deals because we were taken advantage of through the both nafta and dumping issues and also in asia
so here we are and obviously from a trade standpoint you have addressed all of that and thank you for your hard work and i know you've been a big part of these negotiations and you are, you know, you are a farmer and a friend to the farmer and we thank you for what you're doing in that regard but obviously the sooner we can get that done the better. as you know, we are in planting season and when i am here in in the state current prices are i don't know if i want to play in town. they are trying to make decisions and it's in disaster. please continue -- i know from your side you then have looked at it and we were picking up 40e storm and after the storm and
lucky and getting 40 pounds now but it still tremendous impact on our farmers and we will have a heck of a crop for the storm and devastating blow. we've got to do something there and had the blueberry freeze if you are familiar with also. with that, you have addressed all these things broadband is another one. our economies would benefit and in this body i know have a lot of that response ability but certainly you have a big voice and those are -- the things i hear over and over again when i go back into the district anything you have not shared with us that you would like to share with us as far as where we
are going and how we get there. >> i appreciate you mentioning many of those things. i would tell you if congress saw fit to see the power of appropriations that we would cure that disaster tomorrow. i don't think that will happen. nonetheless we were really to implement as quickly as possible but there are serious issues. my friends, i am agriculture and my friends are agriculture and they are professional complainers sometimes. it's a dangerous situation. hopefully we get it recognized. >> that's probably why we pass legislation christmas was to get the disaster relief in here for before christmas and it did not go anywhere and we had this terrible government shutdown.
it's been a bit of a mess but listen, thank you for being here this long and thank you for your service and your great jordan, one of my mentors and heroes and i appreciate everything you do for us. >> thank you. awesome response ability. >> the gentleman from california, mr. cox. >> yes, secretary. thank you for staying so late and sharing your time with us. your testimony might not be as titillating as some of the other hearings but with much more substantive. i come from the california 21st congressional district which is the top agricultural district in the top agricultural state and just last year california became the world's fifth largest economy and that's attributed to things, financial services, entertainment, technology left out of that story is our states ag industry
and our rural regions. as you know, our rural regions are somewhat the most beautiful and bountiful places in the world to produce our commodities for all our americans and food, water and open spaces. our farmers and ranchers are the cornerstones of the economies when they succeed our communities succeed. one crucial piece of the success is the usda rural development programs. as you well know you been there and you can attest that our district, central valley, they are very rural but the problem i keep on hearing when i talk to these communities is that they can't access these programs because of the myriad of definitions of what is rural as defined by the usda. and so, i like to hear what the
ministration is doing to make sure these programs, very valuable programs, are available to our rural communities so they can access the federal system. >> you have hit on a serious issue but unfortunately it is not determined by usda but statutorily defined in these world definitions and i would encourage this committee to look at a common definition of rural and that you can direct in many of our programs regarding access but we are limited to defining role is under 20000 in many places and under ten other places. we would love to have a common definition and places that might've been 10010 years ago and they might have been 20 now but 40 or 50 and still need help in their growth. many times in their growth for
water treatment plants and others in a more definitive way. we would love to have a comprehensive definition of rural and we were hoping to get that in the farm bill and that was not a thing we could agree upon. >> i guess that is why we are elected and sit on this committee. certainly, we talked about it earlier and testified and i want to hit on it again. with regard to disaster relief but we have not spoken about the causes of the disasters in the first place and just once again, how has the issue of climate change affect or guide the forecast, policies and pogroms of the ag department connect. >> were trying to do better media on a longer-term basis and our drought monitor and different things like that and aside from causes we try to mitigate the effects with better research of crops and seeds is also practices regarding cover crops and things like that and have better quality water runoff and less carbon footprint for
more trips across the field and those kind of things and limiting that. all those practices i think our producers are doing a much better job and much more aware than ever have been we can always do better. >> thank you so much. to reiterate our imitation we like to see back in california sometime soon. >> i will come to your district i've already been to theirs. >> okay, think again, secretary i go back to you, gentlemen. the gentleman from kansas, esther marshall. >> good afternoon. you have -- i appreciate you being here. my folks back home are concerned about how the fda is handling [inaudible] i walked out of a sst committee and the folks from i assume organ state of washington state concerned about the oyster industry and just to
be frank, our livestock and poultry folks think gene editing are to come under the usda jurisdiction and i want to know your thoughts on. >> we believe from an agricultural perspective we could implement those issues in a very safe way and i think we have demonstrated that through our food safety obviously the fda we have equities that we may not have had at the beginning of the science of that and i hope we can come to resolution between your committee and the jurisdiction over fda so that we do not lose in the technological advances of crisp are nine non- transgenic gene editing going forward.
if we have a trade problem today because this country has led in research and development and better productivity and if we lose that lead internationally we are the beginning going down. i'm hoping we can resolve this and it should not rely upon jurisdictional issues and ought to be based on science and moving forward because if we take as long to approve these kind of things as we have taken to approve pharmaceuticals it will be again located this technology will be located outside the bounds of the united states. >> thank you. i want to talk a second about the sale act, statutory trust you may recall i started working on a family farm as my first job and worked at a cell barn. through the last farm bill we provided for you to study this sale act a little bit and what
the impact would be and i want to know if you have update on what the timeline looks. >> you caught me totally unawares. congratulations. >> we will answer your question by written, later. >> i apologize for that. moving on from my dairy producers, obviously in the new farm bill we have new programs going on and i'm still trying to wrap my arms around all of them, both options and in the fsa and rma, what timeline looks like going forward with that in any words of advice i can give to my producers back home can. >> i would say you are to encourage your wheat producers to go to the dairy business. [laughter] the timelines we talked about earlier it has provisions for net refunds for those that are
been in the prior program in those refunds we expect to be around the begin on april 30th in that way and paper transfer of paper recording for the first two years has impeded progress of that we could have done it sooner. the calculator of where we should determine ought to be out around april 15 and where they participate we believe the retroactive insurance participation, mpp, march the 18th allows the farmers with retroactively in the sign-up we think for the new dairy program would be around june 17 we think the payments initially may begin as early as july 8. >> great. speaking of wheat farmers there asking about this lineup for tlc and of course they want to make sure china is still interested
in buying wheat we got wto project and you are number three in china supplementing their corn farmers to the tune of $100 million a year. maybe you can talk about the sign-up and the wheat situation in china. >> yes, it's the sign-up we are hoping to be around september 1 and there was an earlier statutory requirement but that was the assumption of passing in the previous fiscal year, as well. we were delayed about that and that's about as soon as we can do it but we will complete the rules around the first of may but then by the time we get omb cleared whether significant or insignificant it will be september one before we get sign-up it interesting things it will affect the 1920 crop, not t19 crop not the crop were planning right now but for the next crop year. >> thank you.
are you back. >> thank you, gentlemen. gentle lady from illinois. >> thank you. hello, mr. secretary you have good stamina. [laughter] i went and had lunch, came back, had a couple meetings and came back. i talk to you before about the ag lab in peoria, important to my region and we share. with congressman hood so we have the before a democrat and will begin to represent that town and we work very hard to gather to make sure that the ag lab is doing well. the big concern that i have is with the administrations thought of closing threatened twice now to close the peoria ag lab, is the largest agricultural research lab within the we have 100 phd is the walk through those doors every workday and 250 people total and they've
done things and i think you're aware of this but they came up with the mass distribution method for penicillin and just on this breakthrough that we have mosquito repellent more effective than deet so we have all these great things coming out of the doors and i know you are stated commitment to ag research and i applaud you for that. what can we see going forward can you be on the same page with us in making sure those doors stay open and can we grow the presence of the phd is the walk through those doors and do more great work in agricultural research. >> we have a proposal to move them to the national region so they can be here. [laughter] >> if i am not mistaken, probably careers at omb have been after these labs out here in the country for the past two years. i did a hissy fit about the need
for research over the funding ars these people make huge progress and i believe it's fundamentally the reason we are productive and have to depend on exports and trade to be profitable because the applied research and deliver system and the extension service. we will continue to advocate for that. i believe you will see a better research budget proposal coming forward and only you will. we will do the best implement that. i appreciate you being proud of us those folks that they do a great job. >> have you had a chance to visit that yet connect. >> i have not. >> we can both host you there. we'd love to have you.
i know you're getting 5 million invitations to go to people's districts but would love for you to see this wonderful art deco arab building and the amazing work that comes out of that. we love to have you if you thank you could put that in your schedule. >> i appreciate your invitation. we tried to get to the labs and other usd facilities that are 90% out of the region here and try to encourage those folks let them know they're part of our family. >> will host you in grand passion if you can make it. i've been to cuba a couple times and ronnie davis and i did a bipartisan ag tour of cuba to look for what markets we have potential to trade in for our producers and growers. i think this was under the obama ministration, president trump does not seem to be as open to having cuba as a trading partner and i know we've got the market access program and funding to look for expanding our markets but any thought you could share with us about your feelings of
growing our relationship with cuba and ag partner. >> i will. i have a personal response based on when i was governor and try to do the same thing. probably eliminating the restriction over the market access program we are using now down there. the real issue with cuba is cash and they don't have the resources to do that. we are still shipping poultry and rice and other things down there but they can do more if they really have the money and have been supported by sponsors around the world and obviously there is conversation with venezuela having supported the fuel and energy initiatives and that certainly is cloudy right now but we would love -- if cuba were able to -- i've been in business and i would love to
sell customers but if they cannot pay you, you did not need their business. that is the problem right now with cuba. i think we are sitting right on the doorstep ready whenever they are able to get financially able to buy our products thank you. my time has expired, i am back. >> gentleman from kentucky. >> secretary is always an honor to have you before our committee. big fan of yours and speak to the farm bureau groups and the group's all-time and you are extremely popular within the ag community and appreciate the good work you do. it's been a long day for you today and i ran over here from the oversight committee hearing and i can assure you you're having a better day in the sole witness testified before the committee is having. again, it's great to have you here. i wanted to talk to you about tobacco, being from kentucky are the biggest, if not, one of the biggest tobacco districts in
america and mr. secretary, fda is mounting a federal assault on tobacco growers. in kentucky and from the south. in two years we've seen -- in two years we see more tobacco regulations out of the fda then the entire ag under the obama administration. my biggest concern is about dark tobacco growers. as you may know the best majority of dark tobacco is grown within 100-mile radius of hopkinsville, kentucky, the center of my district. previous administration dropped eight midnight rule that would wipe out the entire american moist smokeless tobacco category and subsequently wipe out the dark tobacco growers in kentucky. tobacco growers are truly struggling with the fda. with its proposals, is adding economic challenges they already face. can you assure the committee you will educate commissioner gottlieb and the commission on
the rules they have put forward? >> yes i appreciate that. we had this conversation before and i know you support hard-working farmers and it is just -- it's unattainable and there is just too much uncertainty right now within the tobacco industry. they are only two types of farming in kentucky that a young, beginning farmer can do that will cash flow. that is tobacco and poultry. ...
>> it's a bureaucratic nightmare to come up with rules and regulations with a new, emerging industry. we had lots of learning experiences in the kentucky department of agriculture when we began a very, very small program. i just want to offer my assistance from my experience regulating a new industry, the hemp industry in kentucky when you come to trying to implement the new law. i believe that what you said is exactly correct with respect to we, as farmers, do a very good job producing anything. give us time, and we can overproduce it in a very short period of time. so, you know, i think there are a lot of potential pitfalls out there that could probably be avoided from a regulatory standpoint. i would love to continue that discussion with you. i know we have people in the kentucky department of
agriculture that would offer their assistance as well as senator mcconnell on that. the last thing i wanted to mention and i'll yield back, we post all of our committee questions on our facebook, and my farmers call every day. i know you've answered this question a few times already today, but can you give us a quick update of where we are with trade with china, especially with the soybean market? >> sure. again, i think we're cautiously optimistic. i believe substantive progress was made over the last two weeks and the last two visits, both us there and them here. and -- but again, i don't want to prematurely raise expectations. there's a lot of work to be done. we've made some progress on structural reform including intellectual property, but there's more to be made, and there are hurdles here in agriculture over structural, non-tariff barriers to reach the kind of numbers that we would want to see and they would like
to commit to -- >> right. >> we've got to change some things and, hopefully, we can see those happen. so while we want to continue to assume the best, we've got to continue to work hard to make sure it happens. >> welk thank you. i'll conclude by saying this, kentucky farmers support president trump, and they support you, and i appreciate the great work you're doing for kentucky agriculture. >> well, we do want to rely on you and, obviously, commissioner quarrels, secretary quarrels, as we navigate not only a new, emerging, but a unique crop. >> thank the gentleman. gentlelady from connecticut, ms. hayes. >> thank you, secretary. thank you for being here today. i apologize for my tardiness. i had another committee assignment. but this is my first committee for agriculture representing connecticut's 5th district and bringing forth the voices of our small family farmers and our
inner city students who rely on programs like school nutrition and suspect n.a.p -- s.n.a.p.. as a teacher, i know exactly how important school meals are for my students to succeed in the classroom. i have to add this because i hear a lot of talk about the economy and trade and production and budgets, but as a history teacher, i know that one of our basic functions of government as outlined in the constitution is to promote the general welfare as well. and i hope that -- i mean, i recognize as a member of this committee that those children are also our responsibility. kids don't learn when they're hungry. also when we're talking about these programs, children can't go to job training programs. so when we're talking about able-bodied adults and s.n.a.p. programs and things hike that; i
i -- like that, i just hope we don't forget most of the people who receive these benefits are children. and i appreciate the work the department has done -- actually, i thank you. thank you for what you did to maintain the operation of nutrition programs including school meals and wic during the partial if government shutdown. we've heard from school food service directors and commodity distributers that the shutdown had an impact on their ability to procure and distribute food to schools. can you outline what impacts were experienced and the implications in the short and long term the shutdown had on nutrition programs, and what is the department doing specifically to address those impacts? >> sure. i'm sure there must have been, but i appreciate your compliments regarding. that we think probably most of those things were taken care of. we kind of did back flips to make sure that the february s.n.a.p. benefits were done.
states participated and cooperated magnificently with us to get that done by submitting their files by january the 20th, and that enabled them to continue to do that. so that was a heroic effort with our food nutrition service people, and we're very proud of that. i think we've recovered in most all aspects. we see wic numbers going down, but that's simply a function of the economy as well in that way. i would remind you, and i appreciate your passion for children. and as an educator, you understand that i was with the school nutrition services and talked about feeding bodies, fueling minds, how important nutrition is for education and learning. but the abwd, the wd stands for without dependence. so that's very critical function to understand. we're talking about able-bodied adults without dependents. >> okay, thank you.
you also outlined a plan to relocate and, what i feel, is disruptively restructure the economic research services under the office of the chief economist. as you know, ers is responsible for assessing food insecurity or hunger rates in the united states. this is critical information for policymakers who oversee nutrition assistance programs. ers also conducts research to assess how nutrition programs -- like the ones i just described -- are working to reduce hunger and improve the health of americans. relocating and restructuring the agency will have significant impacts on this important work. did you or the department consider any of these impacts when developing this new proposal? and what specific steps has the department taken to mitigate these impacts? >> we did try to take all those considerations into place. first of all, the work and the research that you discussed will continue to go on in that way. there will be a cadre of
leadership in nif a&e rs to remain here -- nifa and ers to remain here in a leadership perspective to visit with congress, to answer questions, to appear over all those kind of research functions. so we to not anticipate losing any -- we do not anticipate losing any of that capacity in that move. we did consider that, and we believe aligning the ers, economic research service, under the office of the chief economist -- he's like the chief scientist in ree, the undersecretary, the political undersecretaries call the chief scientist. well, the chief economic scientist is the career person in office of the economist, chief economist there. you will have a career person reporting to a career person there which we think is less
likely to have political influence over the outcomes or trying to cook the books, if you speak, regarding the outcomes of research in that arena rather than reporting to a political undersecretary that may have an agenda. >> thank you. sorry we went over the time. please don't forget -- >> no problem. >> -- [inaudible] these conversations. >> thank the gent withinglady for her questions. last but certainly not least, my good friend from california, mr. panetta. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and i appreciate my position on the dais as i get to be closer to the secretary and other witnesses throughout this. thank you very much for this opportunity. mr. secretary, good afternoon by now. always good to see you. appreciate listening to you, although i've got to say i was quite surprised you actually got stumped today, because i've never seen that in a question and answer session with you. [laughter] >> i think congressman marshall studied a long time to do that.
>> well, he's a doctor, and if we knew what kind of a doctor he was, that would make it more reasonable why he stumps us. [laughter] i just want to say thank you for all your work and especially your coordination with ambassador lighthizer in dealing with the current issue in regards to china as well as the upcoming usca deal, potentially deal, hopefully deal. i was just in a hearing this morning with ambassador lighthizer, and we had a good discussion on that. obviously, with some of your answers we are definitely hopeful that something occurs and that there's agreement that is reached. my question, first question is if there is not an agreement reached anytime soon, do you see additional mitigation funds? >> oh, i do not, sadly. again, and again, i think that depends on the outcome. i think it would be devastating to markets if we don't see a success here, and we don't know
how badly that would be, but -- and we'd have to make those recommendations at that point in time. the motivation and the reason behind the mitigation payments in 2018 is that the trade disruptions began after the planning and farmers could not plan for that. so i hope that farmers will look at the market signals today, make their determinations over market in the same way they would do in any other year. >> understood. now, obviously, you know as well that although farmers appreciate those types of mitigation funds, they're not about aid, they're about trade. they're not about short-term bailouts, they're about long-term business. >> right. >> and with that, some of the markets that they have have been lost. are you coordinating with ambassador lighthizer in order to insure that some of those markets that were lost are gained back? >> we're taking really the lead, i would say, in that through
undersec ted mckinney -- undersecretary ted mckinney and our foreign ag service people around the world. and really we're kind of the sales people when it comes to the deal and the contract. ustr serves as the lawyer there to write the contract and bless the deal. that's their statutory responsibility. but we're out selling everywhere. and i think we can recover those markets. that's why we talked about the market access program. that $200 million of the market facilitation program that goes to market access and building markets in places where we haven't had markets and shoring up current customers. >> great, great. thank you. and quickly, just, i have a letter here dated january 25th that was sent to the usta regarding issuance of february 2019 benefits. i was wondering if i could give
you to this staff, if that's okay. >> we could, i think we have it. was that not a timeline of a reply on that? i think that's what my staff told me. i thought there was 90 days or something, if that's the same letter i'm thinking of. >> okay. i didn't see a timeline on this, but i'll talk -- >> surely. please give it to me. >> and also, if you could -- and i will, thank you very much. and talk to me, if you could, how's christy boswell and the progress, the work she has been doing in regards to immigration. >> she's a star, and i think the progress we're making from a regulatory perspective with dol and dhs and state is largely due to her efforts in that, in helping to guide their regulatory language. we've also committed to lend her to the white house folks to help work on the ag labor portion of a comprehensive immigration
proposal. and so she's very much a necessary part of our operation because you have heard me say before trade, labor, regulation over and over, any part of the country you want to go to. >> great. thank you. and quickly, i know the farm bill has given you a new program to respond to a host of animal agriculture pest and disease outbreaks. i think the example with the exotic outbreak and your response, usda's response is a good example of this. how's that process coming along, the flexibility, and do you have anien plans to continuing to apply it. >> i think that's the proposal dealing with the vaccine bank -- >> right. >> -- the lab network. it will go a long way. certainly, when we get to the point of determining the right technology of vaccine there may be more funds needed. but in working with the department of agriculture in california over this newcastle, we've got to get ahead of that.
we've been somewhat unhappy regarding the progress over the backyard birds and the issue to control their movement, and it's a serious issue. if it moved out of california and got across this country in our poultry industry, which is significant, it would be devastating. so we need to work diligently in that together and, hopefully, i met with secretary ross recently and, hopefully, we can have some new abilities to accomplish those things. >> thank you. mr. secretary, an absolute pleasure. look forward to seeing you out in central california. thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> thank the gentleman. weaver going to wrap in this up -- we're going to wrap this up, mr. secretary, you happy with that? >> do i have to? [laughter] >> you're having fun, huh? i'm going to recognize the ranking member for a closing statement. >> thank you, mr. secretary. your bladder stamina is way impressive. i want to get on the record that i'm in full-throated support of
your efforts to the -- [inaudible] many of my colleagues either intentionally or unintentionally conflate children and disabled and elderly -- abad populations. these are able-bodied adults without dependents, and we need to focus on that. in conference with our colleagues across the building, the senators, we're both in agreement that the waiver issue is being abused across this nation and needed to be reformed. they were concerned that the house fix would offend certain sensibilities of certain senators that they had and they couldn't get it passed, but that maybe the best path forward was to do it by regulation and that you, in fact, have all the authorities you need to do the able-bodied adult without dependents rule change that you are proposing. so i'm hopeful that the, this moral hazard or can be continued to be addressed by example.
today california has a 4.2% unemployment rate. 55 out of 58 counties are under a work waiver. every one of my colleagues from california mentioned the lack of labor to be had in these agriculture industries. so if there's jobs available, maybe not be the job they necessarily want, awe a job is a job. so having these folks having the initiative to get off the welfare programs and go to work is particularly important. so i'm also aware that there will be certain groups out there that will take advantage of your ample comment period to suggest, perhaps, some changes in tightening the way that the counties are counted, the way the numbers come together, all those good things. and i hope you guys will pay attention to that. but i am in full-throated support of what you're doing and look forward to getting this rule implemented and getting this moral hazard addressed across this country. thank you, sir, look forward to working with you going forward.
yield back. >> thank the gentleman. and i want to thank the secretary for his -- [laughter] persistence being able to sit there this long. it's not easy at our age, mr. secretary, to do that. we appreciate it. just last thing -- >> [inaudible] >> well, yeah, i'm not either. anyway, one last thing. when the sit-down was going on, you know, i was getting calls from my producers and my employees out there about what the heck was going on, the nrcs office was open. so i went and visited offices, you know? i went in there that first round when you opened up for three days or whatever it was and talked to the employees, and, you know, i went back when you opened up full time which, by the way, was controversial because they had gone out and got on unemployment, and they
finally had some money so they could pay their rent, and then they got called back, and they're not getting paid, you know? so that was -- didn't go over all that good. but anyway, so i, you know, found out, i guess, that the nrcs employees because they're, whatever they're doing, they were able to be paid somehow or another, and your lawyers or whoever decided the fsa people couldn't be. so out of that, i have drafted a bill which says -- and i just finally just got it now, and it's not completely right. but what it says is if somebody is administering a ccc mandatory program, you know, like an fsa, that they would not be laid off, that they would be paid out of the ccc, you know, for whatever length of time that shutdown happens. and then when it's over with, you'd pay them back, pay the ccc
back. because they get paid anyway. so, you know, i would assume something like that might be helpful to your agency. so what i'm going to do is give you this copy of what we've been working on. i'd like you to take a look at it, your lawyers and work with us. but there's no sense in -- if they're doing these mandatory programs, there's no sense, in my opinion, for us to -- if we have another shutdown, hopefully we won't have another one, but if we do, there's just no sense not to have them working, you know? they're going to get paid any anyways, you know? so i think this is a way to deal with it. >> i couldn't agree more. i think, again, we'd be happy to look at that, see if there are any legal issues or h.r. issues or pay processing issues. but i think the best solution is no shutdown. >> yeah. so if you guys would take a look at it, have your most problematic lawyers look at it -- [laughter] >> we've got some of them. [laughter] >> they'll pass muster on it
and, hopefully, we'll never have that problem again. so again, thank you very much for your patience and hanging in there. i think all of the members appreciateed the opportunity to visit with you and all your willingness to answer their questions, and we look forward to working with you and working through the issues that we have getting this farm bill implemented. thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> meeting's adjourned. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
[inaudible conversations] >> pasadena is your quintessential southern california community. >> i think there's this balance of reverence for the past. people in pasadena are very proud of going to do their business at city hall and having it be this fantastic, you know, spanish renaissance palace. but we're also home to the planetary society and cal tech where you have people looking very much forward into the future and galaxies and beyond. >> c-span's city tour is on the road. this weekend we take you to pasadena, california, with the help of our spectrum cable partners. [cheers and applause] >> known for the rose bowl and its rose parade, we'll talk with authors from this suburb of los angeles. >> july 26, 1943, was l.a.'s pearl harbor. it was on that day in the middle of world war ii a thick smog came in. i don't know from what
direction. but it got so viscous and acrid that police officers directing traffic disappeared. it was the beginning of having smog-related automobile accidents. it was so bad, mothers were drag their children into department stores. a sort of hysteria built. >> and we'll go inside the jet propulsion laboratories at cal tech, responsible for putting rovers on a mars. >> the reason we're here is to do what has never been done before. and we're paving the way for human exploration elsewhere in the solar system. >> watch c-span's the cities tour of pasadena, california, this saturday at 7:30 p.m. eastern on c-span2's booktv and sunday at 2 p.m. on american history tv on c-span3. working with our cable affiliates as we explore the american story. >> this weekend booktv will be
live from the 11th annual tucson festival of books from the grounds of the university of arizona. starting saturday at noon eastern, featuring republican strategist rick wilson with his book, "everything trump touches dies." then journalist shane bauer with his book, "american prison: a reporter's undercover journey into the business of punishment." author lynn vincent with "indianapolis: the true story of the worst sea disaster in u.s. naval history and the 50-year fight to exonerate an innocent man." then professor and author greg grandon with his book, "the end of myth: from the frontier to the border wall in the mind of america." on sunday our live coverage continues starting at 3 p.m. eastern with journalist dave cullen and his book, "parkland: birth of a movement." then "newsweek" national political correspondent nina burly, and author karen piper with her book, "a girl's divide
to missiles. growing up in america's secret desert." watch our live coverage of the 11th annual tucson festival of books this weekend on booktv on c-span2. >> sunday night on c pan's -- c-span's "q&a," eileen rivers on her book "beyond the call." >> one experience that shane that if adams shared with me is there was a time when she felt there were men who were trying to break her and test her and see if women could actually hack it. so they had this really heavy gear, they had their weapon, and they were carrying it on this road march. and she pulled her women aside and said no matter what happens, don't you dare start crying, and you better keep up. because, she's like, i have a feeling they're going to the try to test us, and that's exactly what happened.
the women kept up step for step. >> eileen lives sunday night at eight eastern on c-span's "q&a." >> sarah ferris reports on congress for politico, and she looks us with a look at h.r. 1, a bill dealing with elections and campaign finance reform. sarah, the house democrats are going to be putting this legislation on the floor. what can you tell us about it? >> so basically the fact that it's called h.r. 1 means that it's the number one most important legislative priority. this is literally h.r. 1, bill number 1. so democrats have been pushing this even before they took back the house last fall. it has everything from voting rights to election security, to lobbying. there's very specific provisions that democrats have been pushing for years such as automatic voter or registration, supporting d.c. statehood, they would like to have independent commissions be in charge of house reticketting efforts. there's -- redistricting
efforts. there's a lot of far-ranging pieces that democrats have wanted for a very long time, and we're going to see this on the floor next week. >> host: this would cost, according to the congressional budget office, about $2 billion, most of that going to states for grants for election security. with a price tag like that, what does it mean for the future of h.r. 1? >> guest: well, the h.r. 1, having 227 to cosponsors already virtually means they will have no issues passing this on the floor next week, but, of course, the money is going to be something -- this is all something that would need to go through the appropriations committee. of course, in the house it is controlled by democrats, so that would be no problem. they would have to reshuffle a little money here and there from within these budgets, but for the most part, democrats have supported election security grants for a long time. republicans have as well, but they are almost uniformly opposed to a lot of these other issues such as overhauling the federal election commission.
so republicans in the senate when they go to do these funding compromises for the next fiscal year which was just begun, there's really no chance we're going to see some of these broader items being adopted by the senate, the republican-run senate over there. but some of these funding opportunities we could see some bipartisan support for those. >> host: well, as the house works on h.r. 1 next week, what is the senate going to be doing? >> guest: the senate's going to be taking up three judicial nominations. this is something that majority leader mitch mcconnell has been really prioritizing and pushing through as we enter the third month of this new congress. he's got, he has, of course, shored up his majority since the fall elections, and we're going to, we're going to be expecting a couple of republican senators to make a decision about what they'll say this pending national emergency declaration measure. this is something that has really consumed capitol hill for the last several weeks after president trump declared a national emergency to build his so-called border wall.
the senate is on a deadline to take this up. their expecting to do -- they're expecting to do this in the next two weeks or so, so we're going to have a lot of pressure on republican senators who have to make up their mind on how to vote about this. >> host: we'll keep following you, watching these issues as they come up on twitter. and, of course, you're reporting at politico.com. really appreciate your time. >> guest: thanks for having me. >> and arrive -- live here on c-span2, supreme court justice sonia sotomayor speaking about her new children's book and her legal career. she'll be in conversation with actor and activist eva longoria. expecting this to start shortly. [inaudible conversations]