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Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2006 - 2

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


AGRICULTURE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2006 -- (House of Representatives - June 08, 2005)

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Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the Blumenauer-Flake amendment which calls for reductions of the loan rates established in the 2002 farm bill for both sugar beets and sugarcane.

Farmers have crafted their business plans based on the assurances of the 2002 farm bill. Much of the crop of sugar that will be placed under loan in fiscal year 2006 is already in the ground. Farmers have invested time and money in that crop, often with capital borrowed from the bank. It is unfair now to reduce the returns that farmers counted on when planning, financing and planting that crop.

This debate concerning the sugar program is an important one. However, it is a debate we should conduct at the appropriate time: during authorization of a new farm bill.

As chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, I have announced my intention to hold hearings, and the committee will begin work on a new farm bill this fall. During that process and not when we are on the House floor debating an appropriations bill is the correct time for discussing and possibly making important changes to U.S. sugar policy.

Mr. Chairman, in my capacity as chairman, it is my responsibility to look at all of agriculture and consider what is best for the United States and our farmers and ranchers. However, I must note that the U.S. sugar industry does not take the same view when it comes to CAFTA. That free trade agreement is good for U.S. agriculture, but U.S. sugar is the only major agriculture group opposing it. I am disappointed that we do not have total agricultural support for that FTA. I hope that sugar interests will look to help us with that legislation and find a way to close the gap and see that it is passed.

But regardless, the policy that was put in place by the 2002 farm bill must remain intact. I urge my colleagues to vote "no" on this amendment.

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AMENDMENT NO. 6 OFFERED BY MR. CHABOT

Mr. CHABOT. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

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Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Chairman, I also rise in opposition to the amendment. This is not the time for unilateral disarmament when you are talking about the trade competition that we face in the world.

The gentleman mentions it is a $140 million program. The European Union alone spends $2 billion each year on export subsidies. So the opportunity for us to promote exports by giving companies an incentive to buy American agricultural products when they then provide sales and services overseas is well worth it, if indeed you are facing that kind of competition.

The European Union has a trade surplus in agriculture with the United States. One of the reasons they do is because they provide far more of this type of support than we do. So to take away what little we have while we are in the midst of intense negotiations with the World Trade Organization is, to me, unilateral disarmament.

What this program does is promote the export of American agricultural products. It is estimated that for every $1 billion of U.S. agricultural exports, we create 15,000 jobs in this country. Last year we exported over $60 billion worth of agricultural products, creating nearly 1 million jobs. Taking away this program is going to take away some of those jobs. It is not a good idea. I urge my colleagues to reject the amendment.

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