Madam President, never in my life would I expect to see the U.S. Department of Agriculture come out against farming, ranching, agriculture, and its products.
I was talking to a radio station this morning in Afton, WY. They were astonished. They had not heard the news of this yet, and they are now fully aware of it. They are grateful to the Senator from Kansas because one of those involved actually had heard the Senator on the floor last night talking about Meatless Mondays and then the USDA linking ranching and farming to climate change. It is not just cattle or beef producers--and beef is clearly the No. 1 cash crop for Wyoming--but the USDA has gone after dairy products, such as milk and cheese, as part of a climate change issue.
So this does seem to be an assault against a way of life, a significant part of our country's heritage, as well as our economic future. We see this assault on our products through the Department of Agriculture. We see it as an assault on family values of young families working together, as we have seen with the Department of Labor. And now yesterday, with a vote on this Senate floor, there was an attack by a reinstitution of the death tax. People are trying to keep a family operation within the family, a ranch or a farm, all across rural America. These small businesses in communities all across the country are finding that it is going to be much more difficult, under what the Democrats voted for yesterday, to keep their ranches and farms in the family.
I know farmers and ranchers in Wyoming where a member of the family works in town just to make the money to pay the expenses of keeping the operation of the farm or the ranch going. They know full well that under the Democratic proposal, if someone were to die, once that becomes the case, their chances of being able to hold on to that operation are reduced to almost nothing. Bringing back the costs of the death tax to the levels of the Clinton administration, anything over $1 million in assessed value would be taxed at 55 percent. The only solution for many is to sell.
There are three specific attacks: the death tax attack, the Meatless Monday attack, and the attack on children helping out on the family or neighbor farm or ranch. There are values that they learn through the FFA. All of those things make me wonder in what direction the country is heading. I guess that is no surprise when only one in three Americans all across the country think the country is heading in the right direction.
I am happy to join my colleague from Kansas who came to the Senate floor yesterday to bring this to the attention of the Senate. He and I are working together to now address the Secretary of Agriculture to make sure that something like this doesn't happen again and to make sure that the Secretary does insist that farmers and ranchers across this country--and the products that they make and should be promoted by the Department of Agriculture--receive the proper honor that is deserved by them for what they do to continue to put food on the table and continue to bring forth the values from those who built this great country.
I thank my friend and colleague, the Senator from Kansas, for bringing this to the attention of the Nation.