Chairman David Scott Floor Statement Regarding the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022Fri, 12 Aug 2022 13:04:48 CDT
Today, House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott submitted the following statement for the record on H.R. 5376, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.
"Mr. Speaker, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 before us today makes historic investments in climate change mitigation, our critical forestry and conservation programs, rural communities, and energy and biofuels infrastructure.
This package makes important investments in our oversubscribed farm bill conservation programs. By expanding participation in these programs and providing increased technical assistance funding, farmers will more readily be able to employ proven conservation practices on their land, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and sequester carbon. I have always believed that agriculture should be the tip of the spear in addressing the harmful effects of climate change. This legislation helps make that a reality.
My colleagues may complain about the steps we had to take to ensure this additional funding for our farm bill conservation programs. I would note that our colleagues on the other side have similarly extended the authorization of farm bill authorizations, but in those cases, it was to cut funding from them. In this exercise, we are including additional funding, which will be beneficial as we look to writing the 2023 Farm Bill.
Major investments in forestry will also help to combat climate change, reduce risk of catastrophic wildfire, and ensure that our public and private lands have the tools they need to continue to serve as our largest carbon sinks. In addition to the carbon benefits, this bill helps restore forest ecosystems, improve watershed health, and enhance wildlife habitat by providing much needing funding. Additionally, the forestry provisions of the bill will help bring rural prosperity to many parts of our nation by ensuring that we are developing new, innovative, wood products, and by making sure that underserved communities can benefit from emerging climate mitigation markets. This bill makes sure that urban communities have access to forestry programs by providing needed funding for Urban and Community Forestry. Expanding the tree canopy in urban areas is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to address temperature impacts and air quality issues, and I’m sorry some of my colleagues don’t recognize that.
The Inflation Reduction Act’s investments in rural communities, energy, and biofuels will help lower energy bills, increase the efficiency of energy systems, and provide opportunities for farmers and small business owners to employ emission reducing technology in their operations. Increasing energy efficiency is good for their bottom lines and good for the climate. This legislation also provides significant support for rural electric cooperatives as they transition to renewable and zero emission energy systems, and it also increases access to clean biofuels across the nation.
This bill provides expedited relief to direct and guaranteed farm loan borrowers at risk of losing their farming operations. It also allows USDA to help farmers and ranchers who have suffered discrimination in Farm Service Agency farm loan programs. It requires USDA to use one or more non-governmental entities to help provide this assistance.
Lastly, it builds upon the American Rescue Plan efforts to increase access to capital and land for our beginning and underserved producers by expanding access to technical assistance, financial training, cooperative development, assistance to address heirs’ property issues. And part of this effort includes bolstering the capacity at our 1890 and 1994 Land Grant, Insular Area, and other Minority-Serving Institutions in the areas of research, education and extension.
Thank you Mr. Speaker for the opportunity to rise in support of H.R. 5376. I want to thank the Members of the Agriculture Committee for their hard work on this legislation. And I also want to thank the Agriculture Committee staff who have dedicated many hours over the last year to helping see this legislation through to its passage today."
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