Speeches and Floor Statements
Rep. Scott Opposes Government Surveillance of Food Purchases
During the debate on the Farm Bill, Congressman Scott spoke in opposition to an amendment which would require the government to review all Americans food purchases in order to review SNAP items purchased. The speech below is taken from the Congressional Record. You can watch a C-SPAN video of the speech at this link: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/clip/4458387
CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 1947, FEDERAL AGRICULTURE REFORM AND RISK MANAGEMENT ACT OF 2013
SEC. 4033. GAO PILOT PROGRAM TO COLLECT AND PUBLISH SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE BENEFIT REDEMPTION DATA.
Mr. DAVID SCOTT of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I claim time in opposition.
The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. DAVID SCOTT of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, this is one of the most terrible amendments that has ever been brought before this House of Representatives. It goes against the very grain of what America is about.
I don't care if you're rich. I don't care if you're poor. I don't care if you're in the service. I don't care if you have to have SNAP. You are an American. And Americans today if they're tired of one thing, they're tired of the government prying into their lives under surveillance that's happening right now on the 6 o'clock news, in our major papers. The one thing is the mistrust of a government-surveillance program. This has everything to do with surveillance. That's exactly what it is. It's a food surveillance program from my good friend, Mr. Tom Marino.
What this will do--you tell me if it isn't--it will require retail food stores to monitor, to put in a surveillance system, to collect and report back to the Secretary of Agriculture detailed information that identifies what food items, what type, what size of purchase by those who are on SNAP.
This isn't about SNAP. You've gone into the grocery stores. Everybody goes into that grocery store as an American to purchase, to buy the food, the basic things that he needs to survive. You can't put surveillance on the SNAP person without putting surveillance on every American that goes into that store. How asinine such an amendment this is in this eagerness of this declaring of war on SNAP recipients.
We are declaring a war on the soul of America itself. And I don't care if you're liberal; I don't care if you're moderate or you are conservative. Every American ought to be concerned about this. You're not going to be able to put a surveillance program over what the SNAP folks get without putting a surveillance program over all Americans. Just think about how big our system is, and the statistics bear it out. Right now, there are 460,000 different items on the market shelves. There are 15,000 new ones going on every year. What's going to happen there?
And for the consumers, there's going to be a cost. Yes, there's going to be a cost. These retailers don't go and print money and make it. Do you know who is going to pay for the cost of this surveillance program that is unneeded? It's going to be the customers.
And so, ladies and gentlemen, and with all due respect to the gentleman, let us ease this war against the poorest who are among us. I remind everybody every day that the fastest growing group of recipients who are receiving benefits from food stamps are our veterans, the very ones who've gone and put their lives on the line, who come back maimed, that have to depend on food stamps, who went and fought overseas so we could be free from surveillance, and here's an amendment that wants to put surveillance on them.
Let's look at this and see it for what it is. It is an awful surveillance program. And I have respect for the gentleman, but this amendment is totally misguided and does great damage to the heart and the soul of this Nation, because you cannot discriminate going into those grocery stores against the poor recipient of SNAP without discriminating and taking away the freedoms of every single American.
I yield back the balance of my time.
A video of the speech can be watched at: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/clip/4458387