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

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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AMENDMENT NO. 6 OFFERED BY MR. CHABOT

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

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Mr. CHABOT. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 3 minutes.

Mr. Chairman, the rationale behind this amendment is simple: hard-working taxpayers should not have to subsidize the advertising costs of food industry associations or cooperatives, or State and regional trade groups. Yet this is exactly what the Market Access Program does.

Since 1997, MAP has cost the American taxpayers nearly $1 billion. Let me put that another way. Despite a massive budget deficit and unsustainable spending on entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicaid, the Federal Government continues to spend more than $100 million annually to underwrite the overseas advertising costs of groups like the Popcorn Institute and the Catfish Institute and the Ginseng Board, just to name a few.

Let me be clear. I strongly support American businesses of all kinds marketing their products around the world. I just do not think that the American taxpayer should have to pay for their advertising costs. It seems reasonable to believe that if trade associations felt that advertising their products in other countries would be beneficial, they would do it, and they would pay for it.

Mr. Chairman, the General Accounting Office, the GAO, has reviewed the MAP program and has concluded that MAP has no discernible effect on U.S. agricultural exports. Let me repeat that: no discernible effect. But at an estimated cost of $140 million last year, MAP does have a discernible impact on the American people in the form of lighter wallets and in the red ink of our budget deficit.

Let us be honest. Most American businesses do not benefit and do not try to take advantage of government handouts like MAP. Most businesses want to keep more of what they earn. They want fewer burdensome regulations that limit growth and stifle productivity, and they would like the opportunity to compete on a level playing field in markets around the world. That would be a true Market Access Program.

However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to spend $125 million on MAP in the 2006 fiscal year. If recent
history is any indication, those groups that market pistachios and prunes and papaya and pears and pet food and popcorn will do pretty well, getting nearly $6 million in 2004. The National Watermelon Promotion Board benefited from MAP in the past too.

We should ask ourselves, if these groups truly thought it would benefit their bottom line to advertise in foreign markets, would they not do it on their own dime? Would they not do it themselves? If it was their own money, would they not be more likely to work harder to make sure the money was well spent? Would that not make for more effective market access?

MAP is the poster child for corporate welfare. It is wasteful spending in the name of job creation and market access that fails to provide either.

I urge my fellow Members of Congress to join me and the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Brown) and join the National Taxpayers Union, Citizens Against Government Waste, Taxpayers For Common Sense, and U.S. PIRG in casting a vote for the overburdened American taxpayer. Please vote "yes" on this amendment.

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http://thomas.loc.gov

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