Fighting Hunger Incentive Act of 2015by Representative Mike Kelly
Posted on 2015-02-12
KELLY of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak very well about H.R. 641, the Conservation Easement Incentive legislation. I get confused sometimes by the discussion on the floor.
If I understand it, if you do it for a year or 2 years and you don't pay for it, that is good policy, that is good legislation, that is good for America, but if you go beyond that time, it is not good.
This is a piece of legislation that came up in 2006. In fact, my colleague Mr. Thompson brought it up. He and Chairman Camp did it. He and Mr. Gerlach, who retired last year, did it. This just makes good sense.
I can tell you something about this. It is not only bipartisan, it is bicameral. It is in the President's budget. If you are talking about trying to work together to get somewhere, isn't this it? Isn't this it? Sometimes, we always try to bend the rules for something else, but this is about conservation. This is about allowing a landowner to set property aside. So I don't care if you are a farmer or a rancher, I don't care if you are a hunter or a hiker, I don't care if you [[Page H1004]] like to look at birds or hunt birds, there are over 65 associations around the country that say, Please do more of this, set this ground apart.
Now, if you are a farmer or a rancher, you can still work that ground. All you are saying is this is a set-aside, this ground can't be developed, we can't lose this ground.
This is so basic who we are as Americans. We are saying, Let's preserve what we have. Let's just keep what we have. Let's make sure that our kids can hunt, hike, and swim. Let's make sure that they can fish. Let's make sure they can do all those wonderful things that this land affords us to do.
Then it becomes, Gosh, this is about politics. It is not about policy. It is good policy. It has never been paid for. I just don't understand why, all of a sudden--now--why is it paid for? I am only starting my third session here; but, my God, you would never do this back home. I wouldn't do this. I am an automobile dealer.
I couldn't do this to a customer and say, Yeah, it is okay now, but do you know what, later on, you are going to have to pay me for it.
And they say, Wait a minute, I thought you gave it to me.
No, no. We are going to take it back.
Mr. Speaker, there are millions of acres that have been set aside now. Why not give some permanency to this? We talk about tax reform. Let's give it some permanency. Let's do what makes sense for all of America.
Let's talk about preserving America's ground and making sure it doesn't go under development. People can still farm it, and they can still ranch on it. It just makes good sense.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.