Opening Statement: Republican Leader Glenn 'GT' Thompson Full Committee Business Meeting: "To consider H.R. 4252, H.R. 2361, H.R. 5608, H.R. 3532, H.R. 4489, H.R. 5609, and H.R. 5589"
Washington, October 21, 2021
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
I appreciate the opportunity for Members to come together and advance thoughtful solutions at this markup. Among the bills, I am excited we will consider bipartisan legislation that my friend Ron Kind and I have been working on for months: H.R. 5608, the Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act.
CWD has been a big problem for the deer populations in Pennsylvania for quite some time, but the problem doesn’t stop in my home state—the disease has spread to at least 25 states across the country. Unfortunately, because there is no known cure for CWD, and we still know very little about how the disease is transmitted, that number is sure to rise. Through continuous conversations with industry stakeholders in both the farmed and wild deer communities, we have been able to identify priority areas for much-needed research and on-the-ground management efforts to attempt to combat continued spread. I am hopeful with passage of this bill and the eventual support of our friends on the Appropriations Committee, this disease will receive the attention and financial resources warranted.
I also want to take a moment to recognize my colleagues, Mr. Johnson and Mr. Cuellar, on their introduction of the Cattle Contract Library Act of 2021, another bill we will consider today. I know the concept of a contract library is also one Mrs. Hartzler has promoted through previously introduced legislation, so I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize her leadership on the matter as well.
As this Committee has seen firsthand, there are a lot of competing ideas on how to address the challenges facing the cattle industry. I appreciate the efforts made to navigate those complex and competing ideas in pursuit of what I view as a very pragmatic middle ground. We have heard loud and clear the desire for more market transparency. Hopefully, with more market knowledge about the types of contracts offered, producers stand a better chance of negotiating beneficial terms to sell their own cattle.
I will be supporting both of these bills, not only because I support the policy but also because each bill is the product of bipartisan Member and staff-level discussions taking into account input from stakeholders and valuable technical feedback from USDA.
There were other bills scheduled for this markup that, after appropriate vetting, were not deemed ready. Other bills, despite an expedited process with agencies and stakeholders, were found ready for markup.
Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the bipartisan vetting that occurred on these bills. I certainly hope this collaborative process will guide our future work.
Mr. Chairman, I appreciate your passion for our 1890 institutions and your work to ensure scholarship programs exist to promote agricultural opportunities to a wide swath of students. I was so pleased to learn more than 685 students have benefitted thus far. I genuinely look forward to learning more about their experience, their retention, and all they’ve achieved. Without this information, I do question why we would move to make the program permanent. But, as I have said, I want to work with you. I think there is an opportunity to work together and make certain your efforts—a pillar of your work—come to fruition. I welcome ongoing conversations and your commitment to doing so. That said, I will be supporting your bill before us today. I appreciate your work on this front and look forward to working together.
So, Mr. Chairman, I again want to air my previous comments and ask for your commitment that the Committee move to fulfill its obligations in oversight and implementation and address the many concerns of which our shared constituencies are pleading with us to provide wisdom and guidance. This Committee should not remain in the crosshairs of the political theater the rest of Washington seems to be swept up in.