Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) spoke on the House floor today in support of the Fighting Hunger Incentive Act.
McCarthy’s full remarks are below.
“I thank the gentleman and the Chairman for yielding.
“I have to pause for a moment. We debate a lot of things on this floor. And they’re worthy debates. And they’re interesting debates. But let’s first, Mr. Speaker, tell the American people what we’re debating today.
“Fighting Hunger Incentive Act—that’s what we’re debating. Lots of times I question why we have debates on the floor sometimes. Right now is one of them.
“I really wonder if the American people tune into today and said, ‘You were really having argument against Fighting Hunger Incentive Act?’ So let me walk through what we’re debating.
“Because just a couple of days ago, I went right down the road here to the DC Central Kitchen. It’s a nonprofit—feeds a lot of homeless—also helps people build jobs. But you know how it was created? ‘Cause a small businessman saw people who were hungry. Then he saw an inaugural for the 41st President of the United States, and he said, ‘Should that food all be wasted?’ So he took the leftovers and [gave] it to someone who needed it.
“Then he went further, and he goes, ‘You know, when these people come and eat, what theyreally need—they need a job. So why don’t I create a culinary school?’ Ninety-nine classes have gone through this culinary school. And you know what? I met this young man [Dawain] who went through class number two. Earlier in his life he did some things wrong and he was incarcerated for more than twenty years. But you know what his life is today? He is the supervisor for eight years. He has a five-year-old daughter, and he has a college fund for that daughter. That’s because the current tax code allows it to happen.
“Mr. Speaker, when I listen to the other side, you would think we’re creating a whole new bill. We’re taking a tax code and extending it, instead of having a problem and someone wonders will I still get that donation. So I ask them. I see how many people you feed here and the number of volunteers. If you want to volunteer at the DC Central Kitchen, you have to sign up and the opening is in May because people want to give back. But they say 60 percent of all the food they get is donated. They get fish that would actually go into a dump beforehand. But you know, it’s not easy if you’re a small farm somewhere else to donate it. This incentive allows it to happen.
“Why? Because one person saw a need. He didn’t go to government to do it, but he used a system to actually enhance and build it up. But I don’t just have to go to DC to see this. I see this in my own community. My wife and I go down to The Mission in Kern County.
“I see lives changed. I see all walks of life. I was down to serve at The Mission one day and a person that was just a couple lines behind it, in there to get food, went to the same elementary school as me and the same junior high and the same high school. That’s the greatness of this country—that we’re willing to help one another.
“But Mr. Speaker, I just don’t understand if we’re going to help each other, why do we have to fight to make it allowed to do that? There are worthy fights on this floor, but this is not one. We are better than this, Mr. Speaker. And let me tell you this. What I am most amazed with and dumbfounded by is that this bill has a veto threat. This bill to help end hunger, to help the next Dawain, to help the next individual to be fed has a veto threat. So you know what? I’ve read the veto threat. The administration doesn’t oppose the provision because it’s already a law.
“So many times people say: ‘Why don’t you—why do you wait until the last minute in this House?’ Well we’re not now. We’re taking it early so nobody has a problem. But you know what the Administration, Mr. Speaker, the President says he is threatening to veto this bill because Congress didn’t pass other bills the President wanted and because the President might oppose future bills the House could pass. Seriously? That’s just wrong.
“Mr. Speaker, I believe in this country. I believe in mankind. I believe in the goodness in all of us. It’s not about party. It’s about helping one another. We are fighting for the incentive to end hunger and encouraging others to do it. We shouldn’t have to debate about it. We should celebrate it, and I look forward to this bill passing with a large majority with the President signing it and all of us as Americans coming together to help the most precious, because it’s in every single one of our communities: hunger. Let’s put our political gains aside, Mr. Speaker, and let’s rise to what people expect of this House: to help the common good.
“I yield back.”