Davis Participates in First Farm Bill Conference Meeting, Highlights Need for Critical Workforce Investments
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) today participated in the first public meeting of the House and Senate conference committee on the farm bill. In his opening statement, Davis highlighted important provisions he wants to see in the conference report, including making historic investments in the SNAP Employment and Training programs when economic growth is the strongest it’s been in years.
Below are Davis' written remarks.
"Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Four years ago, I participated in my first conference committee as a freshman member on the Ag Committee.
Just as it wasn’t an easy process then, it hasn’t been an easy process getting to this point now, but we saw success and we saw bipartisanship back then.
As a Subcommittee Chairman, I look at these two bills, and believe each have components I’d like to see retained in the final conference report. Each bill contains protections against fraudulent organic imports and animal welfare provisions which I support. In the Senate bill, I greatly appreciate the investment in research, energy, and local food programs. In the House bill, I’m particularly invested in the provisions which offer regulatory relief for my farmers. These provisions include my bill to extend the authorization for pesticide registrations, language to reduce duplicative permit requirements, and language to clarify the role of state agencies in pesticide regulation.
Additionally, I support the House Farm Bill’s bipartisan language, which I helped author that promotes better customer service at USDA. Due to faulty implementation by USDA, dozens of grain elevators, including one in my district, were told that their longstanding exceptions were being revoked. Fortunately, Congress has stopped further revocations through the appropriations process. But for those grain elevators already impacted, we should allow them the opportunity to reinstate their longstanding exceptions.
One major component, that impacts 80 percent of the farm bill, is the House’s common-sense approach to modernizing SNAP. Our country’s economy is growing at its strongest pace in 4 years and our unemployment rate is at an 18-year low. Even still, in my home state of Illinois 67% of work capable adults receiving SNAP are not working. This isn’t because they don’t want to work, it’s because many have been discouraged by a recession that lasted too long and many lack the education and training necessary to get a good-paying skilled job. The House bill makes substantial investments in workforce training and will help individuals receiving SNAP find employment. When I speak to any business in my district, one of their biggest issues is always a lack of skilled workforce. There are 6.6 million open jobs in this country and small business optimism is the highest it’s been in 35 years. If not now, when? When do we make these critical investments in our workforce to fill these jobs and help end the cycle of poverty for millions of Americans? This is good policy that can’t wait.
Four years ago, we had our ups and downs, but in the end, we got a strong farm bill across the finish line. I truly believe we can do that again this year, and I look forward to working with all of you to achieve this goal.
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